Audit: VA employee traveled instead of processing benefit claims - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Audit: VA employee traveled instead of processing benefit claims

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Eight months after the Channel 4 I-Team exposed a massive backlog in benefit claims at the Veterans Administration in Nashville, a scathing audit reports a worker assigned to processing claims was downloading software for sexting and was traveling out of state instead of working on the cases.

The audit from the Office of Inspector General reports that an unnamed employee was assigned to the Nashville office but was taking trips several times a month to Washington, DC, at one point traveling to Florida, and his absence "resulted in an undetermined number of veterans claims not being processed."

Veterans and their families read the audit and said they are sickened by investigators' findings.

"How did he get away with this for so long?" asked Judy Moore, whose husband waited for years to hear about his claim of exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam.

Only after the Channel 4 I-Team started investigating did Moore finally hear from the VA.

"Who was supposed to be watching him [the employee]?" Moore asked.

The audit named two of the unnamed employee's supervisors, J. Allen Bozeman and Jonah Czerwinski, for failing to properly supervise, resulting in the employee's unauthorized travel, misuse of a VA credit card and misuse of $31,000 of travel funds.

When reached by phone, Bozeman said he had no interest in talking to the Channel 4 I-Team about the audit, and Czerwinski did not return a call for comment.

The audit also says the employee downloaded software for sexting and used taxpayer dollars to entertain women and to purchase alcohol.

"He's living the high life, and these veterans, how many die, every year, waiting on these benefits? It's just absolutely ridiculous," Moore said.

The employee's name is redacted throughout the auditors' report.

"I think we have a right to know who he is," Moore said.

The Channel 4 I-Team repeatedly asked the VA and the OIG to identify the employee and to confirm if he is still employed by the VA.

A spokeswoman for the OIG said low-tiered employees with the government are due privacy protection.

VA spokeswoman Genevieve Billia sent the Channel 4 I-Team the following statement: "VA takes any allegation regarding misuse of departmental resources very seriously, and the department appreciates the Office of Inspector General's independent review. VA has reviewed the OIG's report, and will determine appropriate actions to take with respect to its recommendations."

The audit indicates the unnamed employee was doing some kind of work for the VA during the Washington trips, but he was still assigned to Nashville to work on those backlogged cases.

The audit also says government investigators opted not to take administrative action against the supervisors, as both have resigned.

The Channel 4 I-Team will continue to try and determine the identity of the unnamed employee.

Copyright 2014 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

  • More Local NewsNewsMore>>

  • Hundreds enjoy varieties of beers at LA Winter Beer Festival

    Hundreds enjoy varieties of beers at LA Winter Beer Festival

    Saturday, February 24 2018 9:37 PM EST2018-02-25 02:37:00 GMT
    (Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)(Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)
    (Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)(Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)
    All the beer one could ever want was in downtown Lake Charles Saturday.  The 4th annual Louisiana Winter Beer Festival brought in thousands of people ready to test out plenty of beer.  Beer from all over the world was in one place Saturday---downtown Lake Charles.   Nick Villaume/co-organizer "I want to highlight downtown that was really one of the reasons we started this was to be able to highlight what's going on downtown, and what a great downtown area w...More >>
    All the beer one could ever want was in downtown Lake Charles Saturday.  The 4th annual Louisiana Winter Beer Festival brought in thousands of people ready to test out plenty of beer.  Beer from all over the world was in one place Saturday---downtown Lake Charles.   Nick Villaume/co-organizer "I want to highlight downtown that was really one of the reasons we started this was to be able to highlight what's going on downtown, and what a great downtown area w...More >>
  • FIRST ALERT FORECAST: Heavy storms likely tonight and Sunday

    FIRST ALERT FORECAST: Heavy storms likely tonight and Sunday

    Saturday, February 24 2018 5:50 PM EST2018-02-24 22:50:02 GMT
    Rain likely tonightRain likely tonight
    Rain likely tonightRain likely tonight

    Tonight will be very stormy with plenty of showers around. There will be heavy rain at times with some strong storms. Winds are likely to gust up to 20 mph. Most of the stronger and severe weather will stay to our north. It does not mean we will not see some outbreak. The severe risk for us is not zero. Rain chances for tonight are up to 80%. This rain is caused from a cold front that will stall over us, or slow down by Sunday. This will allow the rain to last most of our Sunday.

    More >>

    Tonight will be very stormy with plenty of showers around. There will be heavy rain at times with some strong storms. Winds are likely to gust up to 20 mph. Most of the stronger and severe weather will stay to our north. It does not mean we will not see some outbreak. The severe risk for us is not zero. Rain chances for tonight are up to 80%. This rain is caused from a cold front that will stall over us, or slow down by Sunday. This will allow the rain to last most of our Sunday.

    More >>
  • Silver Spurs Rodeo Club hosts youth rodeo in Sulphur

    Silver Spurs Rodeo Club hosts youth rodeo in Sulphur

    Saturday, February 24 2018 5:34 PM EST2018-02-24 22:34:48 GMT
    A 30 year tradition continues as the Silver Spurs Rodeo Club held their first youth rodeo of the year. Held at the West Cal Arena in Sulphur, kids can sign up for multiple events, including barrel, polls, stakes, and even mutton busting: where kids can ride the sheep. Edwin McCall, the Vice President of the Silver Spurs Rodeo Club, says that everyone is invited to come, watch, and enjoy the rodeo. "The neatest thing is the family environment. You know, we start out in the mornin...More >>
    A 30 year tradition continues as the Silver Spurs Rodeo Club held their first youth rodeo of the year. Held at the West Cal Arena in Sulphur, kids can sign up for multiple events, including barrel, polls, stakes, and even mutton busting: where kids can ride the sheep. Edwin McCall, the Vice President of the Silver Spurs Rodeo Club, says that everyone is invited to come, watch, and enjoy the rodeo. "The neatest thing is the family environment. You know, we start out in the mornin...More >>
Powered by Frankly