The following is provided by a reader known to the GUARDIAN who has inside knowledge of the facts provided.
Tuesday, the day after Veteran’s Day, a team from the Boise VA as well past long-term employees, quietly gathered at the federal courthouse to hear the sentencing of Szilvia Rideg.
Rideg, the former executive director of the VA charity Idaho Veteran’s Research and Education Foundation (IVREF), plead guilty last year to Federal felony theft of $44,000 during her time at the foundation.
Ms. Rideg managed to make full restitution the morning of her sentencing, which came as a surprise to those in the courtroom. She was sentenced to five years probation, fined $5,000 along with twelve months of house arrest with possible electronic monitoring. Oddly, she continues to work as a grant administrator in another state but is now forbidden to handle funds, open lines of credit or handle cash. She must also take a personal finance class.
IVREF is a medical research charity that furthers the cause of veteran’s healthcare by studying, researching and hopefully curing diseases that veteran’s may suffer from either through the course of their service or later in life. IVREF was recently awarded a $10 million grant by the National Institute of Health (NIH). Rideg was the administrator of this grant.
Besides the economic impacts of her crime, her deceit also took a toll on the researchers employed at the VA as she attempted to cover her tracks by lies, allegations and blame directed towards her co-workers. For several decades researchers have left the facility and the Boise VA has come under scrutiny by the National Institute of Health as they have watched this unfold from afar.
Rideg attempted an apology during her sentencing, however, she spoke so softly that her words were lost in the courtroom and mostly unheard by the audience.
The court noted that Rideg, who came to the US seeking protection from a communist regime, stole from the very people, veterans, who fought for the freedoms and protections she now enjoys.
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