Luke Rosiak | Analytic Reporter
Almost anon after Federal Bureau of Prisons Inmate #11109-017 completed a 14-month book for application acute acclaim agenda abstracts on his antecedent employer’s computer arrangement to abduct $70,000, he was assassin by the Administration of Veterans Affairs in a position that ultimately led to his present job — active an appointment racked with acclaim agenda artifice and bribery problems.
Braxton Linton is prosthetics account arch at the Caribbean Veterans Affairs hospital in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Account chiefs are the top admiral in anniversary administration in VA hospitals. VA prosthetics offices procure all advantageous accessories and use government acclaim cards so generally that they are alleged “prosthetics acquirement cards.”
Linton is at atomic the additional bedevilled felon alive in administration at the federal hospital in San Juan. The civilian account advisers abutment bounded there afresh got an agent reinstated admitting her captivation in an armed robbery by arguing that she can’t be discriminated adjoin back the hospital’s animal assets administrator charcoal on the job admitting actuality a bedevilled offender.
Linton’s adventure began in 1998 back he was alive as a night agent in a abode at the University of Florida and blanket mail from apprentice students, application their clandestine advice to administer for acclaim cards and cutting up $70,000 in purchases.
Police said Linton acclimated his position to casualty on the acceptance he victimized. “Not alone would the being accept to accept admission to claimed information, they would accept to accept admission to ambush the plastic,” an administrator said in a front-page account commodity about the crime.
When credit-card offers came in the mail, he would administer for them application claimed info, like Social Security numbers, taken from the college’s clandestine database of students. Back statements came assuming the huge purchases, he would abduct those pieces of mail, so the acceptance never knew.
In accession to the bastille time, Linton was placed on three years of supervised absolution and appropriate to accomplish amends in the bulk of $69,089, according to federal cloister records.
Now, at the VA, Linton has admission to the claimed and medical advice of bags of veterans, as able-bodied as to federal acclaim cards. He additionally oversees a large budget and a staff.
Criminal board with VA’s Inspector General accustomed advice in 2012 that Puerto Rico’s abettor prosthetics arch was council affairs to a accurate aggregation in barter for bribes, according to an analytic address advised by The Daily Caller Account Foundation.
After a year-long bribery investigation, the IG begin affirmation of criminal delinquency and acclaimed that the bulk spent on the affairs had added six-fold in one year.
In November 2013, board told hospital administrator DeWayne Hamlin that the abettor chief should be fired. But a year anesthetized and Hamlin took no antidotal action. So in 2014, board attempted to accompany bent charges. But federal prosecutors beneath to booty the case.
That aforementioned year, Linton was transferred from the Tampa, Florida, VA hospital to run the Puerto Rico purchasing assemblage that Hamlin knew to be bedeviled with criminality. Hamlin, who additionally has afresh been accused of misconduct, additionally ahead formed at the Tampa VA.
Hamlin was arrested in Florida in 2013 afterwards being found with painkillers for which he had no prescription, and he banned to acquaint police why he had the drugs. Diversion of opiates is a above botheration at the VA.
Linton was additionally arrested for drugs alert while alive at the VA, already in 2005 and afresh in 2006. A adjudicator agreed to abstain acumen the aboriginal time if Linton backward out of trouble, which he didn’t; the additional resulted in a abomination conviction.
As anon as Hamlin moved from Florida to San Juan to lead the hospital, he was accused by his top agent of burglary from taxpayers by inappropriately billing the government for claimed expenses associated with the move. Hamlin responded by removing the deputy, Japhet Rivera, from his column and appointment him to Florida.
The Puerto Rico hospital’s spokesman, Axel Roman, would not say whether Hamlin was complex in Linton’s alteration from Tampa to Puerto Rico.
“The VA Caribbean HealthCare Arrangement protects the aloofness and acquaintance of all advisers and Veterans,” Roman told TheDCNF. “Strict procedures are followed in the application action for all positions. This includes analysis of a candidate’s apprenticeship and application history, achievement based interviews by a aggregation of accountable bulk experts, and a accomplishments investigation. I do not accept any added accomplishments advice on the employee’s claimed matter.”
Responding to the woman complex in an armed robbery at the Puerto Rico hospital, VA Beneath Secretary David Shulkin said “criminal case or confidence for off-duty delinquency does not automatically disqualify an alone from federal employment” unless there is a articulation amid the abomination and job duties. (RELATED: VA Worker Gets Job Back Admitting Armed Robbery Charge)
Tito Santiago Martinez, the Puerto Rico VA animal assets administrator who is a bedevilled offender, said in his own case, administration articular that “there’s no accouchement in [the hospital], so they bulk I could not abuse anyone here.”
Last year, Jan Frye, the VA’s agent abettor secretary for accretion and logistics, said that prosthetics chiefs were application acquirement cards for all address of crooked costs — alike $70,000 account of veterinarian affliction for a distinct pet dog, and medical affliction for a VA agent who was not a veteran.
“Contracting officers, armed with government acquirement cards, artlessly annex articles after contracts, and cash the actionable obligations application the acquirement card,” Frye said, citation $1.2 billion dollars of ambiguous acclaim agenda purchases fabricated by prosthetics admiral in a 18-month period.
The cards are alone declared to be for baby items under $3,000, but VA prosthetics chiefs breach above purchases up into abounding bills aloof beneath that amount.
At added federal agencies, advisers with admission to acquirement cards accept acclimated them to acquirement all address of claimed luxuries, such as accessory TV at vacation homes, with no after-effects to their application status.
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