U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Ohio
(216) 622-3600
August 19, 2015

Former Executive Convicted of Bribing Former Director of Cleveland VA

A Virginia executive was convicted by a federal jury on 14 counts related to providing things of value to the former director of the Cleveland and Dayton Veterans Affairs Medical Center in exchange for confidential information about VA construction projects, law enforcement officials said.

Mark S. Farmer, 55, of Arlington, Virginia, was convicted on one count of conspiracy, one count of violating the Hobbs Act, two counts of wire fraud, six counts of mail fraud and four counts of theft of government property. He is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 9.

Farmer was employed at CannonDesign, an integrated design firm headquartered in Buffalo, New York, that performed work for the VA. He worked in several different capacities, including associate principal.

Farmer and CannonDesign received VA records and things of value, including non-public information concerning the VA and streamlined access to public information concerning the VA, which William Montague had embezzled and stolen without authority from the VA. This was done to give Farmer and CannonDesign an advantage over other companies in the awarding and administration of VA business, according to court documents and trial testimony.

Montague, the former director of the Cleveland and Dayton Veterans Affairs Medical Center, previously pleaded guilty to 64 counts related to his role in the conspiracy. He is awaiting sentencing.

“Bribing a public official to obtain internal government documents and information for a competitive business advantage is illegal,” said Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Cleveland Office. “The FBI will continue to root out corruption at all levels.”

“Today’s verdict shows contractors and VA executives who cheat the taxpayers and veterans will be held accountable,” said Gavin McClaren, U.S. VA OIG, Resident Agent in Charge, Cleveland.

Farmer asked Montague to obtain information concerning VA contracts and business, including VA records. Montague used his power and influence at the VA to gain access to VA employees in ways that Farmer could not. Montague gave false and misleading information to VA employees about Montague’s reasons for requesting VA records and information, according to court records and trial testimony.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Antoinette T. Bacon and Paul Flannery following an investigation by the FBI and United States Department of Veterans Affairs—Office of Inspector General.

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