WASHINGTON – A jury in the District of Columbia convicted an employee and a volunteer of Washington, D.C., Veterans Affairs Medical Center (DCVAMC) on charges of conspiring to commit mail fraud and bribery and committing bribery, Attorney General Alice S. Fisher for the Criminal Division announced today.
LaTanya Andrews was a payroll technician for DCVAMC and Peter Turner was a volunteer driver for the organization. The jury found that Turner and Andrews conspired to file a forged Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) form falsely designating Turner as a life insurance beneficiary in the official personnel folder of a seriously ill employee of the DCVAMC. Turner then filed a fraudulent claim when the employee died, and obtained payment from the FEGLI program of approximately $20,500 – funds that should have been paid to the deceased employee’s parents. The jury further found that Andrews used her official position within the DCVAMC payroll office to access the official personnel folder of the deceased employee and cause the false beneficiary form to be placed in that folder. In return for Andrew’s assistance in the scheme, Turner paid her $1,000 from the proceeds of his fraudulent claim.
The Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) program is a term life insurance program operated by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) for federal employees, including employees of the DCVAMC.
Sentencing for Turner and Andrews has not been set. The maximum penalties for the charges are as follows: Violation of the conspiracy statute is punishable by up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, or both. Violation of the bribery statute is punishable by up to 15 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, or both.
The case was prosecuted in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by Trial Attorneys Daniel A. Petalas and Ann C. Brickley of the Public Integrity Section, headed by Brenda K. Morris, Acting Chief.
The case was investigated jointly by the Office of Personnel Management, Office of the Inspector General, and the Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of the Inspector General.