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Published on April 16, 2024
Former VA Procurement Supervisor Sentenced to 7 Years for $1.7 Million Kickback Scheme in ChicagoSource: Administrative Office of the United States Courts, District of Illinois

In a case that reveals the depths of corruption within the procurement process of a federal institution, Thomas E. Duncan, a former procurement supervisor at the Jesse Brown Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, has been sentenced to a stiff seven-year prison term for engaging in a kickback scheme that saw taxpayers bilked out of more than $1.7 million.

Justice has caught up with Duncan, 40, who admittedly lined his pockets with thousands of dollars in kickbacks from Daniel Dingle, the owner of a medical supply firm, for several years the criminal partnership flourished, the Department of Justice detailed in a release prior to U.S. District Judge Steven C. Seeger deciding the sentence that included restitution amounting to $1,709,344; the sentence was disclosed by Morris Pasqual, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Gregory Billingsley, Special Agent-in-Charge of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General, Central Field Office.

Duncan's role as supervisor in the medical center's Central Supply department was critical to the fraudulent operation. He manipulated the procurement process to favor Dingle's Dolton, Illinois-based company – a company that frequently failed to deliver on paid orders, per information from the DOJ. In a blatant act of cover-up, when the scheme came under scrutiny, Duncan churned out fake invoices and directed Dingle to mislead investigators, claiming that the kickbacks were legitimate payments for services rendered by Duncan's third-party entity, Helping Hands Properties LLC.

The fraudulent activities spanned seven years, ending only when the VA Inspector General's Office stepped in to investigate, this unholy alliance came to light after Duncan's attempt to cover his tracks did not hold water during the investigation, which brought about the plea of guilt on a charge of wire fraud and his subsequent sentencing – Dingle, 53, from Riverdale, Ill., has also pleaded guilty to a wire fraud charge with his sentencing date still looming on the docket.