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VA Official Pleads Guilty to Accepting Free Trips From Contractor

Image: VA Official Pleads Guilty to Accepting Free Trips From Contractor
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs building (PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 21 Aug 2015 06:28 PM

An official from the Department of Veterans Affairs pled guilty Thursday for accepting a vacation package from a contractor valued at more than $2,000.

A press release from the FBI details the case involving Anthony Castaneda, a contracting official at the Veterans Affairs Department. In 2010, a construction contractor gave Castaneda a theme park trip package worth $2,243.56.

Two years prior, Castaneda received another vacation package from the contractor that was worth $1,439.

Castaneda pled guilty on Thursday on a charge of Receipt of a Gratuity by a Public Official, which carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison and a fine of $250,000. He could also be banned from receiving government contracts for five years.

According to the Sacramento Business Journal, the VA Northern California Health Care System released a statement about the case.

"We take these charges very seriously and remain deeply committed to upholding our values as a health care system and taking swift and corrective action when deemed appropriate," the statement reads.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has been riddled with problems, most notably the scandal that involved veterans having to wait months to see a doctor. A falsified wait list had been provided for record keeping.

In May, it was reported that the VA has been violating federal contracting rules for years while spending upwards of $6 billion annually for medical care and supplies.
"Doors are swung wide open for fraud, waste and abuse," Jan Frye, the VA's deputy assistant secretary for acquisition and logistics, wrote in a memo to VA Secretary Robert McDonald.

"I can state without reservation that the VA has and continues to waste millions of dollars by paying excessive prices for goods and services due to breaches of federal laws."

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An official from the Department of Veterans Affairs pled guilty Thursday for accepting a vacation package from a contractor valued at more than $2,000.
va, official, veterans affairs, guilty, accepting, trips, contractor
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2015-28-21
Friday, 21 Aug 2015 06:28 PM
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