Fitzpatrick calls for criminal probe of Philly VA office

Posted: July 18, 2014

A Pennsylvania congressman has called for a criminal investigation into claims of mail shredding and data manipulation at the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Regional Office.

In a letter to officials from the FBI, the U.S. Postal Service, and the U.S. Attorney's Office, Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick, a Republican from Bucks County, called the alleged offenses "unconscionable and deserving of further investigation."

The concerns at the Philadelphia VA office in Germantown, which oversees benefits for 825,000 veterans in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey and also houses one of the nation's three VA pension management centers, came to light Monday.

The VA Office of Inspector General has said it found evidence that staff had changed dates on some old claims to make them appear new. The office is also investigating allegations lodged by whistleblowers that staff had shredded boxes of mail that could have been identified and docketed.

At a congressional hearing Monday, an official from the Inspector General's Office said she anticipates the review in Philadelphia will last several more weeks.

"By manipulating claim dates, many of these employees and supervisors financially benefited," Fitzpatrick said in the letter, noting that bonuses are tied to performance. "I urge you to consider opening an investigation into these allegations."


tnadolny@phillynews.com

610-313-8205

@TriciaNadolny

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