Man confesses to VFW theft: 'I am very ashamed of what I've done'

SULTAN, Wash. -- A man who held the position of quartermaster with the Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Sultan has admitted he took more than $90,000 from its bank accounts.

Ray Sherman of Lake Stevens was charged Tuesday with first degree theft. Snohomish County prosecutors say he wrote checks to pay bills for himself and people close to him. The thefts began in 2007 and didn't come to the attention of others until late last year when the bank said the account was empty.

Just recently, Sherman confessed to the VFW and then to police.

Thursday, he confessed to KOMO News.

"I am very ashamed of what I've done," Sherman said. "I'm not scared to admit that or I wouldn't have told the deputy up here.

"I am guilty."

A Vietnam vet himself, he says he hurts deep inside for letting down his fellow vets.

"Yeah, I understand that," he said.

Prosecutors say Sherman was in charge of writing all the checks at the VFW office, but starting in 2007 Sherman wrote one check to himself for more than $17,000, one to his daughter for more than $26,000, another to his son-in-law for over $22,000 and the rest to friends.

VFW commander Chuck Donahue says here's not one penny left now for charities, for college scholarships or to help veterans just back from Iraq and Afghanistan recover.

"It hurt and I considered the guy a good friend," he said. "It's a real sick feeling to know right now we can't help people when they need it."

And he's not sure if he'll see any of the $90,000 again.

Sherman explained that first, his family needed the money, then things got out of control.

"I even offered to pay it back a little at a time because I'm on Social Security -- I don't have a job," he said.

Charged with a felony and facing possible jail time and heavy fines, he wants the VFW to know he is ashamed.

For Donahue, it still hurts.

"I don't know that you can ever trust somebody that's done that to you," he said.

The VFW says if they don't recover some of the money, they'll have to close this chapter in this church.

As for Sherman, he's scheduled to be arraigned June 4.