Former director of Cleveland VA Medical Center sentenced to nearly five years in prison for taking money from design firm
The former director of the Cleveland and Dayton VA Medical Center was sentenced to 57 months in prison for working as a consultant for and taking money and other things of value from a design firm bidding on VA jobs and sharing confidential information about construction projects while still employed by the VA, law enforcement officials said.
William D. Montague, 63, of Brecksville, previously pleaded guilty to 64 counts, including Hobbs Act conspiracy, conspiracy to commit honest services mail fraud, violating the Hobbs Act, money laundering, multiple counts of wire fraud, mail fraud, disclosing public contract information, and other charges.
Montague has paid approximately $390,000 in restitution and forfeiture.
“As a Veterans Affairs Medical Center Director, William Montague undertook a responsibility to serve the public but instead he chose to become self-serving accepting bribes and kickbacks in exchange for favorable official actions,” said Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Cleveland Field Office. “The FBI and our law enforcement partners will continue to aggressively pursue those who abuse the trust we place in public servants to act in the community’s best interest.”
“Our joint investigation with the FBI resulted in the conviction of a former VA Medical Center Director who abused his position by taking bribes and manipulating the government's contracting process for personal gain,” said Gregg Hirstein, Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General Special Agent in Charge, Central Field Office. “We are pleased that this sentence reflects the seriousness of the crimes and believe this conviction will serve as a deterrent to others who might consider defrauding the Department of Veterans Affairs and our country's veterans.”
Montague served as director of the Cleveland VA Medical Center from 1995 until February 3, 2010. On March 11, 2011, Montague began working as director of the Dayton VA Medical Center, a position he held through December 17, 2011, according to court documents.
Court documents detail interactions between Montague and a company identified as Business 75, an integrated design firm with offices throughout the United States, including New York, Illinois, Virginia, Missouri, and California. The company performed work for the VA directly and through its participation in joint ventures and other teaming agreements.
Montague, Business 75, and employees of the company conspired to defraud the VA of its right to the honest and faithful service of Montague through bribery and kickbacks and to defraud the VA and other potential VA contractors by means of false and fraudulent pretenses beginning in 2010, according to court documents.
Montague secretly used his position as Dayton VA Medical Center director to enrich himself and his designees (including House of Montague, a financial services company Montague operated) by soliciting and accepting gifts, payments, and other things of value from Business 75 in exchange for favorable official actions. He also solicited money and a consulting contract from Business 75 in exchange for information related to VA contracts and projects, which would benefit Business 75, Business 75’s principal and their designees, according to court documents.
This was done to give Business 75 an advantage in obtaining VA contracts and projects. Montague gave false and misleading information to VA employees about his reasons for requesting VA documents and information, according to court documents.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Antoinette T. Bacon and Paul Flannery following an investigation by the FBI and United States Department of Veterans Affairs-Office of Inspector General.