Two cases of criminal activity at the Department of Veterans Affairs involve, separately, kickbacks and stealing of gravestones.
In a case out of New Jersey, a former supervisory engineer at a Veterans Affairs facility in East Orange, N.J. is headed to prison for 46 months for accepting more than $1.2 million in kickbacks from contractors, and for falsely claiming one of the companies was owned by a service-disabled veteran, according to federal prosecutors.
Jarod Machinga, 45, of Hopewell, N.J. partnered with a person identified in court documents as “Individual 1” to set up three companies that could be used to obtain VA work. He then directed more than $6 million worth of construction projects to those companies. Machinga admitted that he accepted $1,277,205 in kickbacks in exchange for his official action and influence between 2007 and July 2012.
According to court documents and his statements at his June 30 sentencing in federal court in Trenton, N.J., Machinga also admitted that for many of the projects awarded to Individual 1’s companies, he recruited other contractors to perform the work so the companies were able to keep the money paid to them without having to incur the expense of actually completing the projects, authorities said.
The company Machinga misrepresented as service-disabled and veteran-owned received more than $3 million from VA related to the contract, authorities said.
In the second case, an employee at the Rhode Island Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Exeter, R.I. is expected to plead guilty on Monday at his arraignment in federal court to stealing worn and broken gravestones from the cemetery over numerous years. Kevin Maynard, 59, of Charlestown, R.I. took the stones to his home, then used them as flooring in his garage and shed, prosecutors said.
When an investigator with VA’s inspector general’s office and a Rhode Island State Police detective went to Maynard’s home near the cemetery, they discovered at least 150 veterans’ grave markers laid out as a floor in a shed and two makeshift garages on the property.
Investigators also found a box of American flags he allegedly stole from the cemetery.
Maynard will plead guilty on Monday to theft of government property at his arraignment in U.S. District Court, according to court documents.