Virginia Executive Indicted for Fraudulently Receiving Confidential Information About VA Construction Projects
A 23-count indictment was filed charging a Virginia executive with providing things of value to the former director of the Cleveland and Dayton Veterans Affairs Medical Center in exchange for confidential information about VA construction projects, law enforcement officials said.
Mark S. Farmer, 54, of Arlington, Virginia was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud and theft of government property; two counts of wire fraud; six counts of embezzlement and theft; one count of violating the Hobbs Act and 13 counts of mail fraud.
Farmer was employed at an integrated design firm that performed work for the VA. He worked in several different capacities, including associate principal. The business is identified in the indictment only as “Business 75”.
Farmer and Business 75 received VA records and things of value, including non-public information concerning the VA and streamlined access to public information concerning the VA, which William Montague had embezzled and stolen without authority from the VA. This was done to give Farmer and Business 75 an advantage over other companies in the awarding and administration of VA business.
Montague, the former director of the Cleveland and Dayton Veterans Affairs Medical Center, pleaded guilty earlier this year to 64 counts related to his role in the conspiracy. He is awaiting sentencing.
“Bribing a public official to obtain internal government documents and information for a competitive business advantage is illegal,” said Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Cleveland Office. “The FBI will continue to root out corruption at all levels.”
“Contractors and employees conspiring to defraud the VA is particularly intolerable as the VA struggles to effectively serve our nation's veterans,” said Gavin McClaren, U.S. VA OIG, Resident Agent in Charge, Cleveland.
Farmer asked Montague to obtain information concerning VA contracts and business, including VA records. Montague used his power and influence at the VA to gain access to VA employees in ways that Farmer and Business 75 could not. Montague gave false and misleading information to VA employees about Montague’s reasons for requesting VA records and information, according to the indictment.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Antoinette T. Bacon following an investigation by the FBI and United States Department of Veterans Affairs – Office of Inspector General.
If convicted, the defendant’s sentence will be determined by the court after a review of the federal sentencing guidelines and factors unique to the case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record (if any), the defendant’s role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation.
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.