Criminal Prosecutions from the Veterans Administration
The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during February 2018 the government reported 17 new prosecutions referred by the Veterans Administration (VA). According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is down from 22 the previous month.
The comparisons of the number of defendants charged are based on case-by-case information obtained by TRAC under the Freedom of Information Act from the Executive Office for United States Attorneys (see Table 1).
When monthly 2018 prosecutions of this type are compared with those of the same period in the previous year, the number of filings was down 17 percent. Prosecutions over the past year are also much lower than they were five years ago. Overall, the data show that prosecutions of this type are down 31 percent from levels reported in 2013.
The decrease from the levels five years ago in prosecutions for these matters is shown more clearly in Figure 1. The vertical bars in Figure 1 represent the number of prosecutions of this type recorded on a month-to-month basis. The superimposed line on the bars plots the six-month moving average so that natural fluctuations are smoothed out.
The Nature of Criminal Cases from the Veterans Administration
Adding up prosecutions for each of the first five months of FY 2018 there have been 132 prosecutions filed on criminal referrals from the Veterans Administration. Many of these were for minor offenses such as disorderly conduct, parking violations, or driving while intoxicated while on VA property. Only 9 out of the 132 were for drug offenses, and just 2 for weapons offenses.
A total of 17 were for various white collar crimes involving making various fraudulent claims or embezzling or stealing government money or property. Health care fraud was alleged in three cases. There was only a single case where federal procurement fraud was alleged.
These prosecutions took place throughout the country, from Maine to California and from Florida to Washington. Already during this fiscal year, almost half (44) of U.S. Attorney offices have filed at least one case referred from the VA. The most prosecutions (16) were filed in the Eastern District of Virginia (Alexandria). In second place with fourteen new prosecutions was the Western District of Louisiana (Shreveport). Nevada with nine prosecutions filed had the third highest number during FY 2018.
There were a total of 80 referrals this year from the Veterans Administration that federal prosecutors declined to prosecute. Insufficient evidence was the most common reason cited for closing these cases without going forward on a prosecution.
During these past five months there had also been 106 convictions. The majority (65) received no prison time. The average prison sentence was 9 months.
TRAC offers free monthly reports on program categories such as white collar crime, immigration, drugs, weapons and terrorism and on selected government agencies such as the IRS, FBI, ATF and DHS. For the latest information on prosecutions and convictions, go to http://trac.syr.edu/tracreports/bulletins/. In addition, subscribers to the TRACFed data service can generate custom reports for a specific agency, judicial district, program category, lead charge or judge via the TRAC Data Interpreter.