GSA official sentenced to three months in prison for Las Vegas conference spending scandal

The man behind the General Services Administration’s Las Vegas conference spending scandal was sentenced Tuesday to three months in prison and a bevy of monetary fines, according to an emailed GSA inspector general statement.

GSA logoAlong with the jail time, Jeff Neely, the former GSA executive behind the Western Regions Conference in Las Vegas, was sentenced to three months home confinement, $8000 in restitution and $2000 in fines and probation. The prosecution was seeking a full six-month prison stay.

“This concludes our case about a GSA executive abusing his position and wasting taxpayer dollars,” GSA Acting Inspector General Robert C. Erickson said in the statement.

Neely oversaw the 2010 GSA Las Vegas conference and came under fire for spending $75,000 on a team-building exercise and thousands of dollars in commemorative coins, among other things.

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VA says questionable spending was ‘improper accounting,’ not fraud

A senior Veterans Affairs Department official denied allegations last Tuesday that the agency committed fraud by making billions of dollars in purchases outside the federal rules or by making it appear to Congress like it was meeting its veteran-owned small business contracting mission.

VAThomas J. Leney, executive director of the VA’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization, conceded that the agency spent more than $3 billion in purchases outside the normal contracting process, but insisted that in most cases the buys were made to meet the needs of veteran patients.

He was responding to questioning from Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colorado, who described the agency’s purchases, failure to follow acquisition law and fudging the numbers on small business contracts as fraud.

“I am not prepared to say that this is an issue of fraud,” Leney replied. “This is an issue of improper accounting.”

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VA cheated small businesses out of millions of dollars in contracts, whistleblower alleges

Small businesses, including veteran-owned businesses, have been cheated out of millions of dollars in federal contracts because the Department of Veterans Affairs failed to follow contracting laws.

US CongressThat’s the conclusion of members of Congress who have been investigating VA’s purchasing practices. The VA has been spending more than $6 billion a year on medical supplies without following contracting rules, such as a requirement to set aside purchases below $150,000 for small businesses, according to Jan Frye, the VA’s assistant secretary for acquisitions and logistics. Frye brought these issues to the VA’s top management, then turned whistleblower when he wasn’t satisfied with management’s reaction. Now he’s been a star witness at three congressional hearings on the matter.

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No more charging strippers to Uncle Sam’s plastic

Federal employees who want to gamble or frequent strip clubs for an evening of fun will have to use their own credit cards to pay for it.

PcardAn amendment included in the House-passed fiscal 2016 Defense spending bill prohibits Defense civilian workers and military personnel from using government charge cards for expenses related to “gaming, or for entertainment that includes topless or nude entertainers or participants.”

The language specifically prohibits gaming, rather than any expenses at a casino, so lodging and meals, for example, would be exempt.

Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., sponsored the amendment, which was adopted on voice vote. The House on Thursday passed the fiscal 2016 Defense spending bill. The full Senate has not yet considered its fiscal 2016 Defense appropriations legislation.

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See related story at: Senators Want GSA to Catch Feds Who Use Plastic at Strip Clubs

Pentagon contractor accused of overcharging millions

The federal government has alleged a military contractor overcharged it by at least $44 million for parts, labor and supplies on a multi-billion dollar contract for tens of thousands of trucks ordered by the Army’s acquisitions center based in Warren, MI.

TACOMFiling its complaint in U.S. District Court in Detroit, the Justice Department accused BAE Systems, the American subsidiary of a global defense and security contractor based in London, England, of “certifying and submitting false or fraudulent” prices to contracting officials at Michigan’s Army Tactical Command Life Cycle Management Command (TACOM).

“Private companies are entitled to earn an honest profit from procurement contracts with the U.S. government, but they may not knowingly overcharge the military for supplies and materials,” said U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade in Detroit. “The conduct alleged in this complaint is akin to charging $600 for a hammer.”

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