PALO ALTO (KPIX 5) — A bribery scandal at the Palo Alto VA Hospital has snared several workers accused of taking money and gifts while awarding lucrative contracts.

The last of seven defendants in a federal criminal case was sentenced in the bribery scheme that took away from taxpayers and veterans.

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“It’s quite deplorable if you ask me,” Peter Norris said.

Norris is not only a veteran, but works at the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System, where many of the bribes took place.

“It’s unfortunate because they make it look nice on the outside – get new buildings, statues, but on the inside the interior it’s you know, it’s crumbling,” Norris said.

According to federal court documents, a VA contracting officer promised certain contractors multi-million dollar deals in exchange for money, trips, and gifts.

Two other VA contract workers admitted to accepting bribes like flights, tickets to Disneyland, car payments, and even a new roof.

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“We can collectively that anytime someone betrays the trust of taxpayers or the American citizens you know they should be held accountable for that,” Damian McGee, VA Spokesperson said.

McGee said the VA is happy to see justice served for the last of the defendants, and says the case brought to light areas they could improve, and train employees:

“Just reminding them of the reason they’re here you know. You’re not here to make a quick buck or to get over in anyway. You’re here to do what’s best for Veterans.  You’re here to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars,” McGee said.

But, only two of the seven defendants got prison time, the others were sentenced to house arrest and probation.


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