Man charged for posing as doctor to steal vet suicide prevention funds

by Vern Evans

A federal grand jury on Tuesday indicted a Massachusetts man for posing as a doctor to steal $50,000 in suicide prevention funds from a Veterans Affairs grant program, following a Department of Justice investigation.

David Duren, 48, was charged with wire fraud and federal program fraud charges, according to a Justice Department release. He is scheduled to appear in federal court later this week.

According to charging documents released by federal officials, Duren, also known as Dawud Hakiem Duren, allegedly filed fake invoices and reported fraudulent suicide prevention services through the E3 Foundation, a firm purportedly led by Dr. Michael Rapp that focused on treatment and training for at-risk vets.

Investigators said Duren fabricated Rapp and posed as a trained physician on phone calls and emails to VA officials. The scheme worked, and E3 was granted at least $50,000 through the Staff Sergeant Fox Suicide Prevention Grant.

“Duren and E3 Foundation also did not provide the services and products that he billed for,” Justice officials said. “Instead, Duren misused program funds on personal purchases, including landscaping, a Royal Caribbean cruise, and payments to models on OnlyFans.”

Duren faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and fines of up to $500,000 for the crimes. An attorney for Duren could not be reached for comment.

Congress has authorized $174 million for the Staff Sergeant Fox Suicide Prevention Grant program to expand veteran suicide prevention efforts to more local organizations. Grants of up to $750,000 can be given to community groups that provide new avenues for outreach and treatment to veterans.

Officials said Duren’s scheme was discovered when he tried to obtain $25,000 more in funding, raising questions about what services his company had provided.

Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He has covered Washington, D.C. since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies. His work has earned numerous honors, including a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Leadership in Journalism award and the VFW News Media award.

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