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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Ohio

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, December 23, 2013

VA Supervisor Indicted For Theft Of Government Property

A grand jury returned a three-count indictment charging Okey Wise, 64, of Bath, with theft of government property, depredation of government property, and false statements made to federal investigators, said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio. 

The indictment alleges that Wise, a supervisor at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), in or around April 2013 used his position of authority to steal raw materials from the local VA Medical Center, including wiring and other materials necessary for the Medical Center’s backup generator to function.  The theft and destruction of the wiring system resulted in a power failure at the Medical Center that left the hospital without access to its electronic records and other essential services.

The indictment also alleges that Wise made false statements to federal officials investigating the incident.

“These government funds and property should have been used to care for our nation’s heroes rather than to personally enrich a VA supervisor” said Gavin McClaren, United States Department of Veterans Affairs – Office of Inspector General, Resident Agent in Charge, Cleveland.

Assistant United States Attorneys Antoinette T. Bacon and Matthew J. Cronin are prosecuting the case following an investigation by the VA Office of Inspector General and the VA Police.    

If convicted, the Court will determine the defendant’s sentence after a review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense, and the characteristics of the violation.  In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum.  In most cases, it will be less than the maximum.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt.  A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government's burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Updated March 12, 2015