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Architect Guilty of Charges in VA Case

Friday, August 21, 2015

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A federal jury has found a former design firm executive guilty of bribing the former director of the Veterans Affairs medical centers in Dayton and Cleveland, OH, in exchange for confidential details about construction projects, authorities have announced.

Mark S. Farmer, 55, of Arlington, VA, was convicted Wednesday (Aug. 19) on one count of conspiracy, one count of violating the Hobbs Act, two counts of wire fraud, six counts of mail fraud and four counts of theft of government property,  U.S. Attorney for the North District of Ohio Steven M. Dettelbach announced.

©iStock.com / serggn

A former executive of an international design firm has been convicted of bribing a former VA Medican Center director.

The former VA director, William Montague, pleaded guilty earlier in the scheme and is cooperating with authorities while awaiting sentencing.

Farmer is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 9. His sentence will be determined by the court after a review of the federal sentencing guidelines and “factors unique to the case,” according to the FBI.

A Business Advantage

Farmer was employed at CannonDesign, an integrated design firm headquartered in Buffalo, NY, that performed work for the VA, according to Dettelbach.

The designer held a variety of positions with the firm, including associate principal, authorities said.

Prosecutors alleged that Farmer, CannonDesign, and Montague had conspired since January 2010 to defraud the VA.

VA Headquarters
AgnosticPreachersKid / CC- SA 3.0

The case against Farmer was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Antoniette T. Bacon and Paul Flannery following an investigation by the Department of Veterans AffairsOffice of Inspector General and the FBI. The Washington, DC, headquarters of the Department of Veterans Affairs is shown above.

Farmer and the firm received VA records and things of value, including non-public information about the VA and streamlined access to public information concerning projects, by bribing Montague with cash and gifts.

Montague had embezzled and stolen those documents, authorities said.

The scheme was used to give Farmer and CannonDesign an advantage over other companies in the awarding and administration of VA business, according to court documents and trial testimony.

CannonDesign did not immediately respond Thursday (Aug. 20) to request for comment on the case.

The Director’s Role

Montague, the former director of the Cleveland and Dayton VA Medical Center, previously pleaded guilty to 64 counts related to his role in the conspiracy.

In September 2014, the former director said he would cooperate with authorities in exchange for a reduced prison sentence, according to The Plain Dealer.

Montague originally faced more than six years behind bars, but he now faces four. He is also required to pay nearly $400,000 in restitution and fines under his plea agreement.

William Montague
Veterans Affairs

Former VA director William D. Montague pleaded guilty in February 2014 and is cooperating with authorities.

Montague served as director of the Cleveland VA Medical Center from 1995 until Feb. 3, 2010. On March 11, 2011, he began working as director of the Dayton VA Medical Center, a position he held through Dec. 17, 2011, according to his indictment.

Rooting Out Corruption

“Bribing a public official to obtain internal government documents and information for a competitive business advantage is illegal,” said Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Cleveland Office. “The FBI will continue to root out corruption at all levels.”

Gavin McClaren, U.S. VA—Office of Inspector General Resident Agent in Charge in Cleveland, added: “Today's verdict shows contractors and VA executives who cheat the taxpayers and veterans will be held accountable.”

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Antoinette T. Bacon and Paul Flannery following an investigation by the FBI and the U.S. VA—OIG.


Tagged categories: Architecture; Construction; Criminal acts; Design; Ethics; Government; Government contracts; Laws and litigation

Comment from john lienert, (8/21/2015, 7:00 AM)

tip of just one govt. iceberg

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