Vet to Vet Maine Volunteer Ben Wells Testifies Before Congress

Vet2 to Vet Maine volunteer Ben Wells poses with Sen. Susan Collins after testifying before the Senate’s Aging Committee on Nov. 6.

WASHINGTON, DC—On Nov. 6, Ben Wells testified before the Senate’s Aging Committee on how, as a Vet to Vet volunteer, he helped prevent a Korean War veteran and his wife from falling victim to a scam. Wells, an Air Force veteran who served as a Vet to Vet volunteer for almost two years until his veteran died in late 2016, told the senators that the veteran and his wife, both in their 80s, met with two men representing a firm that promised to get them free home care from the VA. Because of their relationship with Wells, who had earned their trust during his visits with them as a Vet to Vet volunteer, the couple invited him to attend the meeting and asked for his advice.

The men suggested the couple set up a separate bank account to which their firm would have access and proposed a questionable scheme so the veteran could meet the VA’s financial requirements—tip-offs to Wells that the plan was a scam. At his advice, the couple decided to go no further with the company and later got services, free of charge, directly from the VA. Vet to Vet reported the scheme to the Maine Attorney General’s office and consulted with Pine Tree Legal and the Federal Trade Commission. As far as can be determined, the firm is no longer in business. Wells said the training he received as a Vet to Vet volunteer helped him recognize when a veteran needed help and instructed him how to take appropriate steps to assist the veteran.

“The trust I built with my veteran was the key ingredient in stopping the scam from being carried out,” Wells told the senators. “Although I am glad that they did not expose themselves to fraud, it infuriates me that people would falsely offer hope to vulnerable veterans.”