Lynn Man Pleads Guilty to Stealing Veterans Benefits
Massachusetts man pleads guilty to theft of nearly $80,000 in veterans benefits.
Cannon Design to Pay $12 Million as Part of Criminal Enforcement Agreement
Joint OIG and FBI investigation results in Cannon Design signing a Criminal Enforcement Agreement that includes a $12 million penalty.
Collin County Man Sentenced for Disabled Vet Related Fraud
Texas man sentenced to prison for fraudulently obtaining Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business set-aside contracts.
Mortgage Company President Charged with Defrauding Ginnie Mae
Joint investigation results in conspiracy and wire fraud charges in Ginnie Mae case.
Review of Alleged Mismanagement of the Ambulette Services at the New York Harbor Healthcare System
On June 4, 2015, the Office of Inspector General received an allegation that Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) acquisition personnel mismanaged the award of the ambulette services task orders at the New York Harbor Healthcare System (NYHHS). There was also an allegation of contract steering for the re-solicited requirement. Our review focused on determining the merit of the allegations. We substantiated the allegation that Veterans Health Administration (VHA) acquisition personnel mismanaged the award of the ambulette services at NYHHS because they improperly awarded two task orders for ambulette services when the contractor’s Federal Supply Schedule contract did not offer these services. In addition, the contracting officer’s award determination for the re-solicited requirement was not clearly justified. Further, acquisition personnel did not document pertinent contracting actions in VA’s Electronic Contract Management System (eCMS). However, we did not substantiate the allegation of contract steering for the re-solicited requirement. The award mismanagement occurred because VA’s Integrated Oversight Process (IOP) reviews, designed to improve contract quality, were either not completed or not documented for the two task orders valued at $20 million. If performed, these reviews may have revealed the contractor did not offer ambulette services. Further, personnel turnover caused confusion as to who should ensure contract documentation was included in eCMS. As a result, acquisition personnel put the VA at risk for protests and payment to protesters for restitution. We recommended the Under Secretary for Health implement an oversight process to ensure IOP reviews are completed. We recommended the Head of Contracting Activity, VHA, Service Area Office (SAO) East, develop a mechanism to ensure effective coordination between acquisition personnel when transferring contracting responsibilities and implement a process to ensure eCMS is used to record contracting actions. The Under Secretary for Health and the Head of Contracting Activity, VHA, SAO East, concurred with our recommendations and provided action plans for correction action. We consider the plans acceptable and will follow up on their implementation.
Review of Alleged Waste of Funds at the VA Medical Center in Detroit, Michigan
In January 2016, the Office of Inspector General received an allegation that the VA Medical Center (VAMC) in Detroit, MI, purchased 300 televisions (TVs) and accessories in September 2013 for about $311,000. The complainant alleged the facility never installed the TVs because they were the wrong type. Thus, the facility could not use the TVs, which remain in storage. We substantiated the allegation the Detroit VAMC had not installed and used 282 of the 300 TVs, or associated accessories it purchased. The facility acquired the equipment in September 2013 as part of a project to replace the patient TV system in the facility, but as of April 2016, 282 of the TVs and associated accessories were not in use. Despite having all the TVs and accessories on hand for nearly 2 1/2 years, the facility was unable to install the items in the patient rooms because the items did not meet the design specifications identified in the patient TV system architect and engineer (AE) services contract. We determined Detroit VAMC officials did not communicate with the AE contractor in a timely manner to ensure the TVs purchased were compatible with the project design and specifications. Thus, the Detroit VAMC issued a contract modification for $19,052 to adjust the project design and specifications to support the TVs purchased. The TVs and related accessories should have been purchased closer to award of the construction contract. By purchasing these items well before a construction contract to install them was awarded, the facility exposed itself to unnecessary financial risk in the event it did not proceed with the project. As of June 21, 2016, the facility had not yet awarded a contract to install these TVs. By purchasing too early in the process, the facility also allowed valuable warranties to expire, increasing the risk of incurring additional expenses to replace any faulty TVs. We recommended the Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) 10 Acting Director strengthen policy to ensure the proper equipment is purchased at the appropriate time, as well as develop and implement a plan to use the purchased TVs. We also recommended the VISN 10 Acting Director determine whether a bona fide needs violation occurred, and take appropriate corrective action if required. The VISN 10 Acting Director concurred with our recommendations and provided plans for corrective action. We will monitor planned actions and follow up on their implementation.
Former Whitman Police Sergeant Charged with Embezzling Funds from Disabled Veterans
Joint investigation results in an arrest and charges against a former police sergeant in connection with misappropriating funds from the accounts of disabled veterans while he was a VA appointed fiduciary.