A former Veterans Affairs Medical Center procurement officer took payments in exchange for purchasing goods which never arrived, the US Department of Justice said.
A former procurement supervisor at the Jesse Brown Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Thomas Duncan, admitted in federal court that he received “kickbacks” in exchange for directing a medical supply company to purchase supplies that were paid for but never received.
The Department of Justice said at least $36,250 was paid in cheques to a third-party entity, Helping Hands LLC which was managed by Duncan, as well as an additional undisclosed cash amount from the president of a medical supply company, Daniel Dingle.
These cheques included false memos which “disguised the existence and purpose” of the payments.
In exchange, Duncan used his position as procurement supervisor at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center to "fraudulently initiate and approve purchases" from Dingle's medical firm, knowing many of the products would not be delivered.
The DOJ said the defendants owe restitution of approximately $1.7m to the Department of Veteran Affairs, but the amount will be decided by the court later this year.
The scheme began in 2012 and continued until 2019. In 2018, after Duncan became aware he was being investigated by the VA Inspector General’s Office, he created fake invoices from Helping Hands documenting work the company had carried out for the medical supplier.
Duncan and Dingle each pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud, which is punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison. Duncan is due to be sentenced in November, while Dingle’s sentencing has not yet been scheduled.
Special Agent-in-Charge of the US Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General, Gregg Hirstein, said: “These charges demonstrate the VA OIG’s commitment to protecting American taxpayers. Individuals and companies involved in corrupting the VA’s business practices will be held accountable.”
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