Ex-VA Director to be Sentenced for Corruption

It is so rare that it comes as a complete surprise when a government worker is punished for a bad performance and a dishonest activity. Of course this is just the tip of the iceberg, and so egregious that something had to be done. What this executives’ actions cost the American tax payers will never be recovered, but it is nice that he will spend some time in jail thinking about why he is there.

AKRON, Ohio — William Montague, the former head of the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, is scheduled to be sentenced to prison Friday, more than two years after he pleaded guilty to 64 corruption-related charges.

Montague, 64, will be the final defendant as part of a wide-ranging FBI investigation into Cuyahoga County’s pay-to-play political system. More than 60 government officials, employees and contractors were charged as part of the case.

He pleaded guilty in 2014 to defrauding the VA through bribery and kickback schemes where he accepted tens of thousands of dollars from contractors in exchange for inside information.

U.S. District Judge Sara Lioi in Akron will sentence the Brecksville resident Friday afternoon.

In a sentencing memorandum filed last week, Montague’s attorneys asked for a prison sentence of four years, three months in prison. He has also agreed to pay nearly $390,000 in forfeitures, restitution and fees.

Montague, who headed the Cleveland VA between 1995 and 2010 and later headed the VA in Dayton, gave confidential information to the New York firm CannonDesign which gave the company a leg up when bidding on projects.

As part of his plea agreement, he testified against Mark Farmer, then a CannonDesign architect who bribed Montague for the confidential information. A jury found Farmer guilty in August and he is now serving a 33-month prison sentence.

Montague was involved in a scheme to consolidate VA centers and to provide insider information to bidders paying for that information. The VA inspector general has determined that rather than saving money, the project will end up costing the VA and tax payers an additional $500 million over the next 20 years.

It is not unreasonable to assume that other government agencies are equally inept, corrupt, and wasteful. Rather than moving towards larger and larger programs and agencies run by the federal government, the VA is an example of why we should be privatizing as much as possible, and letting the free market create efficiencies and innovations to stretch our tax dollars and improve our systems. And certainly we should see many more corrupt government workers going to prison rather than enjoying fat retirements. Let’s start with the IRS and the Justice Department, and go from there.

Source: cleveland.com





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