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A former federal employee admitted embezzling about $150,000 from a Veterans Affairs retail store and blowing the cash on strippers, prostitutes and gambling sprees, the Justice Department said Tuesday.

Glenn Alan Bates, 57, of Saline schemed to steal money from a VA retail store — or canteen — he managed in Ann Arbor, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison.

Bates, who was released on $10,000 unsecured bond Tuesday, told investigators he spent some of the cash on a stripper named "Ashley" at an Ohio strip club, according to court records. He said he often spent $500 a night on lap dances — and more.

"After visiting the club numerous times, Glenn Alan Bates convinced Ashley to come to his hotel room for sex, for which he paid her," VA Special Agent Frederick Lane wrote in a court filing.

The hotel trysts were frequent and non-exclusive. Bates said he also met with other strippers and prostitutes, according to court records.

"Glenn Alan Bates stated he became addicted to the sexual encounters and he stole cash from the canteen to pay for this addiction," Lane wrote.

Bates was an assistant coach for the varsity baseball team, varsity girls' basketball team and varsity football statistician, according to the Saline Post. The Post said Bates was no longer involved with the schools "effective immediately."

According to court records, Bates told investigators he spent part of the money at casinos in Indianapolis and Battle Creek.

Bates and his court-appointed lawyer, Stacey Studnicki, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

The investigation dates to May 2013 after an audit discovered more than $478,000 missing from the retail store. The store is part of the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System on Fuller Road.

The retail stores are operated by the Veterans Canteen Service, a VA branch catering to veterans who receive military health care benefits. The canteens sell food, clothing and electronics.

The VA's Office of Inspector General launched an investigation that focused on cash missing from the sale of commemorative military hats, vending machines and retail sales.

Bates managed the store from May 2006 to March 2013. He told investigators he stole about $150,000, according to court records.

Bates was hired to manage the VA canteen despite an extensive criminal record, The Detroit News has learned.

He served 18 months in federal prison in the late 1970s after being charged with stealing a car, according to the U.S. Pretrial Services Agency.

He also was charged with felony arson in 1992 and sentenced to probation.

During his arraignment in Detroit Tuesday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Anthony Patti asked Bates about his current job.

"You're currently employed at Wal-Mart?" Patti asked.

"That's correct," Bates said.

"And what do you do there?" the magistrate asked.

"I work overnight," Bates said. "Overnight supervisor."

rsnell@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2028

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