Philly VA hospital worker sentenced to 2 years for embezzling more than $500,000

A former Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center accountant was sentenced to two years in federal prison on Thursday for embezzling nearly half a million dollars by reporting fraudulent travel expenses.

Bruce Minor, 46, of Philadelphia, pleaded guilty in May to one count of theft of public funds, admitting he created and approved false expense reports on behalf of three employees and diverted reimbursements to bank accounts he controlled.

“Americans — and especially the men and women who have served in uniform — deserve public employees who do their jobs honestly and with integrity,” U.S. Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero said in a statement. “This defendant selfishly took advantage of his position with the VA to commit fraud, deceiving both the veterans who depend on VA programs and the taxpayers who fund these services.”

The minor’s attorney, Mark S. Greenberg, declined to comment after Thursday’s sentencing hearing before U.S. District Judge Chad F. Kenney.

In court filings, prosecutors noted that Minor, a U.S. Army veteran, confessed almost immediately after a co-worker in the accounting department noticed about $13,000 in expense reports he had approved for employees who had not taken any work-related travel.

He then sent his father to the VAMC offices in West Philadelphia with $13,260 in cash in hopes of repaying the money he had stolen.

But subsequent investigation revealed that the scale of his theft was much more vast – more than $487,000 deposited via dozens of fake expense reports between December 2015 and September 2019.

“With each fraudulent transaction, Minor made the decision to betray the trust the VA placed in him, to jeopardize others he implicated in his scheme, and to bleed the very agency that provides invaluable assistance to veterans. , like him,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Diviny wrote. .

Minor is the latest in a series of VAMC employees in Philadelphia convicted of various corruption schemes.

Last year, Ralph Johnson, the medical facility’s former environmental services chief, pleaded guilty to charges of accepting thousands of dollars in bribes to run inflated or bogus contracts. to a couple in Florida for items ranging from toilet paper to sophisticated medical equipment.

He is likely to be sentenced next week.

And in 2018, federal prosecutors indicted several members of a ring accused of defrauding the agency of more than $800,000 by filing false medical claims. The alleged ringleader, VA employee Shawn Edmonds, was sentenced to 3½ years in prison that year.

In addition to his prison sentence, Minor was ordered on Thursday to pay $462,256 in restitution and serve three years of supervised release upon his release.

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