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Oig July 2014 Highlights -


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Department of Veterans Affairs
Office of Inspector General
July 2014 Highlights

http://www.va.gov/oig/pubs/highlights/VAOIG-highlights-201407.pdf

Some crazy stuff here:

CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS
Veteran’s Widow Arrested for Murder
A veteran’s widow was arrested for first degree murder and conspiracy to commit first
degree murder. A VA OIG, Social Security Administration (SSA) OIG, Tennessee
Bureau of Investigation, and District Attorney’s Office investigation revealed that the
defendant and her current spouse conspired to murder her previous husband, a combat
veteran and VA beneficiary, by forcing him to overdose on prescription drugs and then
staging a crime scene to make it appear that he committed suicide. The defendant later
applied for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) benefits and falsely
claimed that her husband’s drug overdose was related to his service-connected
post-traumatic stress disorder. The defendant’s current spouse has pled guilty to
conspiracy to commit first degree murder and has agreed to fully cooperate with the
prosecution against his wife in exchange for a reduced sentence. The loss to VA is
over $100,000.
Training Center Owners Arrested for Theft
Two owners of a training center were arrested for grand theft, organized scheme to
defraud, and conspiracy. An OIG investigation revealed that the defendants owned and
operated a school that billed VA between $5,750 and $7,750 for courses taken by
veterans as part of their Post-9/11 G.I. Bill benefits, while charging non-veterans
between $249 and $645 for the same courses. The loss to VA is $635,465.
Augusta, Georgia, VAMC Nurse Pleads Guilty to Assault
An Augusta, GA, VAMC nurse pled guilty to assault and agreed to surrender his nursing
license. An OIG and VA Police Service investigation revealed that the defendant
entered a patient’s room, while two other staff members attempted to treat the patient,
and punched the patient causing serious bodily injury.
VA Office of Inspector General 10July 2014 Highlights
Veteran Convicted of Assault of Miami, Florida, VA Physician
A veteran was convicted at trial of assault on a VA physician. An OIG investigation
revealed that the defendant became angry at how long he had to wait for his
appointment for pain medication and subsequently assaulted his Miami, FL, VAMC
physician.
Veteran Sentenced for Making Bomb Threats to VA
A veteran was sentenced to 3 years’ probation and ordered to attend special counseling
pertaining to education, employment, and self-help after pleading guilty to aggravated
harassment. An OIG investigation revealed that the defendant made bomb threats
against a VAMC because of a reduction in benefits and a wage garnishment letter he
received in the mail.
Veteran Arrested for Making Threats to VA
A veteran who threatened to blow up VA, put his guns to use, and also threatened the
Postal Service was arrested after fleeing for 10 days from his residence in Delaware.
The veteran was located and arrested in another state and is awaiting extradition.
Fiduciary Sentenced for Misappropriation
The fiduciary of a 100 percent service-connected incompetent veteran pled guilty to
theft, misappropriation by fiduciaries, and Social Security representative fraud. A VA
OIG and SSA OIG investigation revealed that the fiduciary failed to provide fiduciary
accountings as required and misappropriated $321,512 in VA and Social Security funds.
Former Fiduciary Pleads Guilty to Misappropriation
A former VA fiduciary pled guilty to misappropriation by a fiduciary. An OIG
investigation determined that the fiduciary stole $28,305 in VA funds that should have
been paid to a nursing home on behalf of the veteran. The defendant embezzled the
funds for use in a failed construction business.
Las Vegas, Nevada, VAMC Employee Convicted of Seeking Sexual Relationship
with Young Girl
A Las Vegas, NV, VAMC employee was convicted at trial of coercion and enticement.
An OIG and local police investigation revealed that the defendant used VA computers to
post ads on Craig’s List stating that he was seeking a sexual relationship with a young
girl. The employee corresponded with an undercover officer, who he believed was a
14-year-old girl, and was subsequently arrested when he arrived at a meeting location.
West Palm Beach, Florida, VAMC Employee and Husband Sentenced for Drug
Trafficking
A West Palm Beach, FL, VAMC employee and her husband were sentenced to a
combined 71 months’ incarceration and assessed $160,292 in fines and court fees after
pleading guilty to trafficking oxycodone and the sale of marijuana. These sentences
stemmed from a 7-month OIG and local drug diversion task force investigation.
Operation Tango Vax focused on combating the sale and distribution of illicit and
controlled prescription pharmaceutical drugs at the West Palm Beach, FL, VAMC
VA Office of Inspector General 11July 2014 Highlights
and the surrounding community. The investigation identified that the majority of all
criminal activity occurred at the medical center and resulted in the seizure of over
3,000 oxycodone pills, two vehicles, and $180,920 in cash.
VAMC Employees Arrested for Drug Diversion
A Mountain Home, TN, VAMC nurse was indicted and arrested for theft of a controlled
substance. An OIG and VA Police Service investigation revealed that on numerous
occasions the defendant diverted oxycodone tablets from a psychiatric patient. The
defendant subsequently confessed to stealing the veteran’s narcotics. Administrative
action is also pending against the defendant. In addition, a Gainesville, FL, VAMC RN
was arrested for fraudulently acquiring controlled substances. An OIG investigation
revealed that on multiple occasions the defendant removed hydromorphone from
medical center Pyxis machines for her own use. Finally, an Atlanta, GA, VAMC
pharmacist was charged with theft by taking after an OIG investigation revealed that the
defendant stole pills from the VA pharmacy and attempted to conceal them in her
personal bag. The defendant subsequently admitted to the theft of the drugs.
Former Bath, New York, VAMC Nurse Sentenced for Drug Diversion
A former Bath, NY, VAMC licensed practical nurse was sentenced to 5 years’ probation
after pleading guilty to possession of oxycodone. An OIG and VA Police Service
investigation revealed that the defendant diverted medications intended for patients for
personal use.
Medical Equipment Company Reaches Civil Settlement with Federal Government
A medical equipment company reached a civil settlement of $6 million with the Federal
Government. The agreement resulted from a joint VA OIG, Health and Human Services
OIG, Department of Labor (DOL) OIG, and Department Of Defense (DoD) OIG
investigation into allegations that the medical equipment company entered into a
kickback scheme by creating personal service agreements with staff members of
physician offices to promote the use of the company’s bone growth stimulators. The
bone growth stimulators are medical devices used to repair bone fractures that are slow
to heal. The company also refurbished used bone growth stimulators and billed the
Government for the price of new bone growth stimulators. VA will receive $66,488 of
the settlement.
Veteran Sentenced for Credit Card Fraud
A veteran was sentenced to 366 days’ incarceration after pleading guilty to a variety of
credit card fraud charges after an OIG and VA Police Service investigation revealed that
the defendant stole a VA physician’s purse while receiving treatment at the West Palm
Beach, FL, VAMC and used the physician’s credit cards to make fraudulent
transactions.
Non-Veteran Arrested for Identity Theft
A non-veteran pled guilty to access device fraud and aggravated identity theft. An OIG,
Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division (IRS CID), and local sheriff’s
office investigation revealed that during an undercover operation the defendant
VA Office of Inspector General 12July 2014 Highlights
purchased what he believed to be a Tampa, FL, VAMC patient’s PII. The defendant
subsequently used the “controlled” PII, in conjunction with a deceased individual’s PII,
to file $307,721 in fraudulent tax returns.
Defendant Pleads Guilty to Fraud
An individual pled guilty to a variety of identity theft fraud charges after an OIG and VA
Police Service investigation revealed that the defendant, along with a Palo Alto, CA,
VAMC employee and two other defendants, conspired to steal the PII of a VAMC
employee and used the information to create unauthorized credit card accounts and
counterfeit checks. Criminal charges have also been filed against the VA employee and
the other two subjects. The defendants used the credit card accounts and counterfeit
checks to make purchases at various retail stores. The purchased items were then
either sold or traded for narcotics.
Veteran Sentenced for VA Compensation Fraud
A veteran was sentenced to 24 months’ incarceration, 3 years’ supervised release, and
ordered to pay restitution of $108,489 after pleading guilty to theft of Government funds
and conspiracy to make false statements to Federally-licensed firearms dealers. An
OIG investigation revealed that the defendant obtained VA compensation benefits by
claiming the loss of the use of both legs. The veteran was observed ambulating freely,
driving a vehicle, mowing grass, and feeding horses. The veteran’s wife was placed
into a pre-trial diversion program and ordered to pay restitution of $18,000 for her part of
the scheme. Additionally, the veteran’s mother was sentenced to 1 year of probation
and the veteran’s stepfather was sentenced to 3 years’ probation, to include 6 months’
home detention, after pleading guilty to conspiracy in making false statements to
Federally-licensed firearms dealers. The mother and stepfather purchased over
25 firearms for the defendant, who is a registered sex offender and is prohibited from
possessing firearms due to a prior felony conviction for committing a lewd act with a
minor. The loss to VA is $159,297.
Veteran Sentenced for Theft of Government Funds
A veteran was sentenced to 24 months’ probation, 6 months’ home detention,
100 hours’ community service, and ordered to pay VA $116,233 (constituting the
remaining balance of the original $122,993 loss to the Government) in restitution after
pleading guilty to theft of Government funds. A VA OIG, IRS CID, and DOL OIG
investigation revealed that the defendant was employed as a building contractor while
fraudulently receiving Individual Unemployability benefits.
Veteran Sentenced for VA Pension Fraud
A veteran was sentenced to 3 years’ incarceration after pleading guilty to theft. An OIG
investigation revealed that the defendant falsified his income in order to qualify for VA
pension benefits.
Daughter of Deceased DIC Beneficiary Ordered to Repay VA
The daughter of a deceased DIC beneficiary, who was previously charged in a civil
complaint, agreed to the stipulation of a civil judgment in favor of VA that ordered the
VA Office of Inspector General 13July 2014 Highlights
defendant to pay $162,954. An OIG investigation revealed that the defendant, a joint
account holder on her deceased mother’s bank account, failed to report her mother's
May 2006 death to VA and then used the VA funds deposited after her mother’s death
for personal expenses and to repair her deceased mother's residence.
Veteran Sentenced for Wire Fraud
A former U.S. Marine Corps Captain was sentenced to 4 months’ incarceration, 1 year
of home confinement, and ordered to pay $90,602 in restitution after pleading guilty to
wire fraud. An OIG and Naval Criminal Investigative Service investigation revealed that
the defendant failed to inform VA that he returned to active duty and continued to
receive VA disability benefits that he was not entitled to receive. The defendant also
falsely claimed military housing reimbursement for rent he never paid. Also, while on
active duty the defendant tried to increase the amount of his improper disability
payments. The loss to VA is $41,862 and the loss to DoD is $48,740.
Home Care Owner Indicted for Wire Fraud Involving Deceased Veteran
A defendant was indicted for wire fraud after a VA OIG and SSA OIG investigation
revealed that the defendant owned and operated a personal care home where a veteran
beneficiary resided. After the veteran’s death in November 1997, the defendant stole
VA and SSA benefits that were direct deposited to a joint account. The approximate
loss to VA is $258,000.
Veterans Indicted for Doctor Shopping for Controlled Medication
A total of 25 veterans were indicted for obtaining prescription medication by fraud,
deceit, or subterfuge and theft of Government property. To date, 23 of the defendants
have been located and arraigned on these charges after an OIG, State, and local
investigation revealed numerous veterans were simultaneously obtaining controlled
medication from VA and outside sources. Each veteran and their respective VA
physicians were interviewed and provided information in furtherance of the cases. The
U.S. Attorney for the District of South Carolina worked in conjunction with the local
coordinator of the VA’s Veterans Justice Outreach Program to pursue appropriate
judicial avenues.
Veteran Pleads Guilty to Drug and Weapon Violations
A veteran pled guilty to a variety of drug charges and knowingly possessing and
transferring a machine gun. As part of the plea, the defendant agreed to forfeit a
number of long guns, handguns, and ammunition confiscated during the arrest and
execution of a search warrant at his residence. An OIG, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco,
Firearms and Explosives, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, and local police
investigation revealed that the defendant participated in a plan with at least two other
veterans in the theft and transport of at least two machine guns allegedly supplied from
Fort Bragg. Controlled buys of the guns were conducted, and the other veterans were
arrested based on those purchases. This defendant continued his illicit activity to
include selling a shotgun, ammunition, a bullet proof vest, and his VA prescription
medications to one of the previously arrested veterans.
VA Office of Inspector General 14July 2014 Highlights
Veteran Arrested for Travel Benefit Fraud
A veteran was arrested for grand larceny relating to beneficiary travel fraud. A VA OIG,
NY State Medicaid OIG, and NY District Attorney’s Office investigation revealed that on
513 occasions the defendant claimed and received Medicaid-paid transportation to and
from the Montrose, NY, VAMC while also being reimbursed for travel by VA. The loss
to VA is $19,733.
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  • HadIt.com Elder

So, it was business as usual...

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