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Press Release

Virginia executive sentenced to prison for bribes involving VA hospitals

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Ohio

A Virginia executive was sentenced to nearly three years in prison for 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, 55, of Arlington, Virginia, was convicted by a jury last year on one count of conspiracy, one count of violating the Hobbs Act, two counts of wire fraud, six counts of mail fraud and four counts of theft of government property.

U.S. District Judge Sara Lioi sentenced Farmer to 33 months in prison and fined him $12,500.

Farmer was employed at CannonDesign, an integrated design firm headquartered in Buffalo, New York, that performed work for the VA. He worked in several different capacities, including associate principal.

Farmer and CannonDesign 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 CannonDesign an advantage over other companies in the awarding and administration of VA business, according to court documents and trial testimony.

Montague, the former director of the Cleveland and Dayton Veterans Affairs Medical Center, previously pleaded guilty to 64 counts related to his role in the conspiracy.

“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.”

“This prison sentence shows VA contractors will be held accountable for defrauding 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 could not. Montague gave false and misleading information to VA employees about Montague’s reasons for requesting VA records and information, according to court records and trial testimony.

 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.

Updated March 30, 2016

Public Corruption