The Kansas Court of Appeals announced Friday its decision to uphold the 2015 conviction of LaVeta Miller, the local women who stole money earmarked for Honor Flights for U.S. veterans.
Miller was the former director of Central Prairie RC&D (Resource Conservation & Development Council), and oversaw the Central Kansas Honor Flight program, which the RC&D launched in 2012. The program was a chapter of the national organization that arranges free trips for aging veterans to visit national war monuments in Washington, D.C.
Several veterans were unable to take their trips after money went missing from the fund, Barton County Attorney Douglas Matthews said.
During her trial, witnesses explained how Miller stole more than $100,000 from RC&D. Most of the money had been donated for Honor Flights and most of it was diverted into her own checking account by faking invoices or claiming expenses she didn’t actually make. She was convicted on two counts of felony theft by deception. Barton County District Judge Ron Svaty sentenced her to two years in prison.
She entered the Topeka Correctional Facility on July 21, 2015. According to the Kansas Department of Corrections website, Miller’s custody level is minimum and her earliest possible release date is Oct. 1, 2016. She has completed several programs during her incarceration, designed to prepare her for her post-release transition. These include money management, Microsoft Specialist and other employment skills. She is not currently working at the prison.
Central Kansas RC&D and the Central Kansas Honor Flight chapter both ceased to exist after Miller’s arrest. Another chapter, Kansas Honor Flight, has taken over the state program. That group has five trips scheduled from September through November.