Vietnam vet says he was hoodwinked by man claiming to help him
BATON ROUGE- Vietnam veteran Charles Magee thought he was doing the right thing when he enlisted the help of an accredited agent to help him secure his VA benefits. Instead, Magee claims that agent took $25,000 of his benefit for a service that is provided for free by the VA.
"I was a plane director," Magee recalled. "I shot a plane off the deck. The capsule shot off and the pilot was killed. Then, one was coming in, and we witnessed the plane go into the water... Cables breaking and cut people's legs off."
Magee returned to the United States after the war. He made a career working at a chemical plant but was ultimately diagnosed with PTSD. Because of that, he is eligible for benefits from his time in the service.
Volunteering at the VA is where he heard of the name Michael Eby. Eby is a registered agent by the VA that can assist with benefits.
"I believe in my heart he started off on the right track, but down the line, something went sour where he could get money that he did not deserve," Magee said.
Magee entered into a contract with Eby in hopes of helping him navigate through the long and tedious process to get his benefits. When it came time to get his benefit, Magee claims Eby took $25,000 dating back to 2006. Eby had only been listed as Magee's agent for eight months.
After allegations about Eby surfaced, the office of veterans affairs reached out to Eby. They are awaiting his response to determine whether a full inquiry will be launched into his conduct.
When the WBRZ Investigative Unit questioned Eby about this, he said he had no idea what we were talking about.
"Stop recording," Eby said. "No one has contacted me about this until the general counsel did. I don't have any disgruntled clients that I represent."
But, sources at the VA told WBRZ other veterans have also complained about Eby taking their money. It's why they reached out to the Investigative Unit.
As the VA looks into this, Magee believes Eby is owed some money for the work he did but doesn't feel like $25,000 was appropriate.
"Pay the man for his work, but don't go back to 2006 and pay him for the things he didn't fight for," Magee said.
Questions have also been raised about the legality of Eby's contract since the VA pays agents 20 percent for their work. Eby's contract contradicts the VA's own guidelines for benefits according to our sources.