Former director of the Cleveland VA Medical Center already pleaded guilty.

Former director of the Cleveland VA Medical Center already pleaded guilty. Veterans Health Administration

VA Contractor Convicted of Bribing Former Department Official

Mark S. Farmer of Arlington, Va., conspired with former Cleveland VA Medical Center director to get a leg up on competitors.

A federal jury has convicted a government contractor for bribing the former director of the Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center for confidential information about the department’s construction projects.

Mark S. Farmer, 55, of Arlington, Va., was convicted of conspiracy, wire fraud, mail fraud, theft of government property, and violating the Hobbs Act, an anti-racketeering law. Farmer was an executive at CannonDesign, a global design firm headquartered in Buffalo, N.Y., that did work for the VA. William Montague, former director of the Cleveland and Dayton VA Medical Center in Ohio, stole confidential information for Farmer to give him and CannonDesign an advantage over other companies seeking the government’s construction business.

Montague previously pleaded guilty in 2014 for his role in the conspiracy, and is awaiting sentencing.

“Montague used his power and influence at the VA to gain access to VA employees in ways that Farmer could not,” said a Justice Department press release about the case. “Montague gave false and misleading information to VA employees about Montague’s reasons for requesting VA records and information, according to court records and trial testimony.”

The verdict “shows contractors and VA executives who cheat the taxpayers and veterans will be held accountable,” said Gavin McClaren, resident agent in charge in Cleveland of VA’s inspector general office.