A Department of Veterans Affairs employee used a network of shell companies to steal millions of dollars from a VA program to provide health services to children of veterans who are suffering from a debilitating spinal condition, federal prosecutors say.
The Justice Department lodged 23 federal criminal charges late last year against Joseph Prince, a former Veterans Affairs employee who prosecutors say used his position to steer almost $20 million in taxpayer money to companies run by family members and associates. Those companies then provided huge kickbacks to Prince, his wife, and other family members, the government alleges.
The previously unreported criminal case appears set to go to trial in Colorado in November. Prince has pleaded not guilty. An alleged co-conspirator, Roland Vaughn, initially did the same, but recent federal court filings indicate he is set to change that plea to guilty at a hearing early next month.
Part of Prince’s job entailed counseling those families about the treatment options available to them through the VA. Prosecutors say he exploited that position of trust to steer patients to seven different home health agencies that subsequently kicked back money to Prince and his family.
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