Former VA Employee Sentenced for Conspiring to Accept Bribes
NEW BERN, N.C. – A Hope Mills man, Daniel Bruce Ross, was sentenced today to 24 months in prison for conspiring to accept bribe payments in exchange for the performance of official acts while working as a federal government employee. Ross previously pled guilty to the charge. He was also ordered to pay $21,520.00 in restitution.
According to court documents and other information presented in court, Ross worked for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in Fayetteville as an agent for the Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grant program, which provides federal funds to eligible veterans with certain severe, service-connected disabilities for the purpose of constructing adapted homes or modifying existing homes. SAH agents have day-to-day responsibility for managing the grant program, including recommending action on grant applications to VA supervisory officials. Among other things, SAH agents are required to inform the veteran that he or she may choose their own builder. Agents are prohibited from recommending a particular builder.
During the offense period, Ross was the assigned SAH agent for multiple grant projects awarded to All American Home Renovations (AAHR), a Fayetteville-based construction company then-owned and operated by Marc Schantz. According to the investigation, Ross abused his position as an SAH agent to steer over $1 million worth of grant projects to AAHR in exchange for monetary payments from Schantz. For example, Ross routinely advised his VA supervisors to approve grant awards to veterans in which AAHR was improperly and deceptively designated as a particular veteran’s “builder of choice” when, in fact, Ross had misled the veteran to believe that AAHR had been selected for them by the VA. AAHR concealed the unlawful payments to Ross by transferring the funds to a dormant business owned by Ross, making it appear as if the business was providing legitimate subcontracting services to AAHR.
G. Norman Acker, III, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Louise W. Flanagan. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs – Office of Inspector General investigated the case and Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam F. Hulbig prosecuted the case.
Related court documents and information can be found on the website of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina or on PACER by searching for Case No. 5:19-cr-00037-FL.