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Convicted Architect Makes Sentencing Deal

Thursday, February 4, 2016

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A Virginia architect who was found guilty of using inside information to obtain contracts at a VA hospital in Ohio has made a sentencing deal with prosecutors to avoid further charges.

Mark Farmer, a former architect with Buffalo, NY-based CannonDesign, will spend between 21 months to six years in prison under the terms of a post-jury-conviction deal with federal prosecutors, according to The Plain Dealer.

On Tuesday (Feb. 2), Farmer admitted that he had that he knew about $3.9 million in illicit deals gained by using inside information from William Montague, the former head of the Cleveland VA who later became director of the Dayton VA Medical Center.

Admissions of Fraud

As previously reported, prosecutors said Montague—who was director of the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center—conspired with Farmer to give him and other high-ranking Cannon employees information that would have resulted in $20 million in contracts.

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Mark Farmer, a former architect with CannonDesign, will spend between 21 months to six years in prison under the terms of a post-jury-conviction deal with federal prosecutors.

A jury found Farmer guilty in August 2015 of conspiracy, racketeering, embezzlement, bribery, theft of public money, mail fraud and wire fraud, previous reports indicate. He’ll remain in federal prison until his sentencing hearing on March 29, the newspaper said.

In exchange for Farmer’s admission, prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office agreed to seek no new charges against Farmer, the newspaper said. No other Cannon employees have been charged.

In addition to jail time, agreement calls for Farmer to forfeit $70,801 in ill-gained money, the newspaper said. He also faces fines between $10,000 and $250,000.

Scandal Details

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

Previous reports indicate that Farmer held a variety of positions with CannonDesign, including associate principal. Prosecutors alleged that Farmer, CannonDesign and Montague had conspired since January 2 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 at the time.

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.

AgnosticPreachersKid / CC- SA 3.0

Prosecutors alleged that Farmer, CannonDesign and Montague had conspired since January 2. 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 pleaded guilty in September 2014. In his deal, the former administrator could spend as little as 4½ years in federal prison in exchange for his cooperation, previous reports indicate. Montague has yet to be sentenced.

More to Come

Farmer’s attorney, John Mitchell, said Wednesday (Feb. 3) that it would be inappropriate for him to comment with sentencing issues still pending. The U.S. attorneys who helped write the agreement could not be reached for comment. A copy of the agreement was unavailable by deadline.

However, the Cleveland-based newspaper, which has been covering the trial, posted part of the negotiated plan on Tuesday.

“High-ranking officials at CannonDesign knew about and approved of the payments to Montague and received confidential documents and information that Montague provided from the VA,” the agreement reportedly says.

The newspaper further said that a Sept. 28, 2015, letter between prosecutors and Farmer’s attorney helped both sides reach the deal. The letter reportedly said that investigators were gathering more documents and issuing more subpoenas to other CannonDesign employees Bacon said Tuesday.

By attorney’s requests, U.S. District Judge Sara Lioi ordered that letter sealed from the public.

   

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

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