Three U.S. naval officers censured in ‘Fat Leonard’ corruption probe

Three U.S. admirals were censured for dining at “extravagant” banquets in Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore and accepting other gifts from an Asian defense contractor at the center of a bribery scandal that continues to rattle the highest ranks of the Navy, according to documents released late Friday.

Navy logoOne dinner alone cost $23,061, or about $768.72 for each of the 30 people who attended. To get around ethics rules, the admirals reimbursed the contractor — a Malaysian national known in Navy circles as “Fat Leonard” — but only for a fraction of the expense, writing personal checks for between $50 and $70 each, the documents show.

The incidents occurred nearly a decade ago, while all three officers — Vice Adm. Michael H. Miller, Rear Adm. Terry B. Kraft and Rear Adm. David R. Pimpo — were assigned to the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier strike group. Each was forced to retire this summer.

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DoD fails to comply with rules to curb contractor estimate deficiencies

The Defense Department’s contracting component hasn’t observed new rules meant to address deficiencies in the way contractors estimate prices for DoD, says a June 29 DoD inspector general report.

DOD IGContractor estimating systems encompass the policies, procedures and practices used by the contractor for generating estimates of costs and other data that are included in proposals submitted to the government.

And it’s important that those systems are accurate, the report says.

“Contractor business systems and related internal controls, including the estimating system, are the first line of defense against waste, fraud, and abuse,” GAO says.

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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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