Tuesday, February 19, 2019

After VA GI Bill scam, jail next mission for ex-VA employee


11 years in jail for ex-Veterans Affairs official in disabled vet fraud scheme


WTOP News
Valerie Bonk
February 18, 2019

WASHINGTON — A former U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs official has been sentenced 11 years in prison for a $2 million bribery scheme involving a program for disabled military veterans.

James King, 63, of Baltimore, previously pleaded guilty to one count of honest services and money wire fraud, one count of bribery of a public official and one count of falsifying records to obstruct an investigation, authorities said in a news release.

King was sentenced Friday to serve 132 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release and to pay $155,000 in restitution to Veterans Affairs.

Three school owners and employees, who admitted to bribing King, were sentenced last week.

Albert Poawui, the owner of Atius Technology Institute, was sentenced to serve 70 months in prison and ordered to pay $1.5 million in restitution.

Sombo Kanneh, Poawui’s employee, was sentenced to serve 20 months in prison and ordered to pay $113,000 in restitution.

Michelle Stevens, the owner of Eelon Training Academy, was sentenced to serve 30 months in prison and ordered to pay $83,000 in restitution.

“James King and his associates exploited an important VA program that provides valuable services to our disabled military veterans,” said Justice Department Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski in a release. “This prosecution once again demonstrates the Justice Department’s commitment to hold accountable those who seek to defraud government programs for their own personal enrichment.”
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