Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
Office of Inspector General

Fourth Person Charged in Corruption Investigation at the John Cochran VA Center

United States Department of Justice
United States Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Missouri
PRESS RELEASE
Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 9, 2017

Fourth Person Charged in Corruption Investigation at the John Cochran VA Center

St. Louis, MO – Jeramy Wegman, 38, of O’Fallon, Illinois, was arrested on charges he participated in a conspiracy to steal government funds and pay illegal kickbacks to a manager at the John Cochran Medical Center during 2014 and 2015. Wegman appeared in federal court in St. Louis and was released on bond.

According to the Indictment, Tony Pedretti, the manager of the HVAC shop at the medical center directed $181,000 in work to Wegman, who worked as an outside contractor, between February 2014 and April 2015. This money came from work orders for less than $2,500 each which Pedretti could authorize without prior supervisory approval.

The indictment further alleges that while some of the work ordered by Pedretti was performed, other “ghost work” was not. As part of their arrangement. Wegman paid periodic cash kickbacks for the work he was given at the medical center.

Pedretti and another outside contractor Scott Geary have pleaded guilty to similar charges and await sentencing. David Graham, another outside contractor, has been previously charged and awaits trial.

“This investigation shows that contractors and government employees who defraud taxpayers and our nation’s veterans will be held accountable and that corruption will not be tolerated,” Special Agent-in-Charge Gregg Hirstein of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of the Inspector General said in a statement.

If convicted, conspiracy to steal government funds carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000. In determining the actual sentences, a judge is required to consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide recommended sentencing ranges.

This case was investigated by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs – Office of the Inspector General and the FDIC – Office of the Inspector General. Assistant United States Attorney Tom Albus is handling the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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