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Bruce Minor, former accounting clerk at the VA Medical Center, was sentenced for embezzlement.

Credit: Chase Sutton

A Veterans Affairs Medical Center employee was recently sentenced to two years in federal prison for embezzling almost half a million dollars through fraudulent travel expenses.

Bruce Minor, a former accounting clerk at the VAMC, pleaded guilty to one count of theft of government funds in May. Minor admitted to making and approving fake expense reports using the names of other employees and then diverting the reimbursements into bank accounts under his control. 

In addition to the prison term, Minor was ordered to pay $462,256 in restitution and serve a three-year term of supervised release upon his release from prison. 

Minor almost immediately confessed once a colleague in the accounting department noticed about $13,000 in expense reports he’d approved for employees who hadn’t taken any work-related trips and later sent his father to the VAMC offices in West Philadelphia with the amount in cash in an attempt to repay what he stole. 

Subsequent investigations, however, found that the scope of Minor’s theft was much larger. More than $487,000 had been embezzled through dozens of false expense reports between December 2015 and September 2019.

“This defendant selfishly took advantage of his position with the VA to commit fraud, cheating both the veterans who rely on VA programs and the taxpayers who fund those services,” United States Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero said in a statement, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Minor’s conviction comes following various other corruption schemes within the VAMC.

Just last year, the former chief of environmental services at the medical facility, Ralph Johnson, pleaded guilty to charges of accepting thousands in kickbacks to steer inflated or phony contracts. He faces sentencing this week. 

In 2018, federal prosecutors convicted several members of a ring for defrauding the agency for more than $800,000 by filing phony medical claims, with the leader of the group VA employee Shawn Edmonds being sentenced to three and a half years in prison.