State Veterans Affairs Worker Found With Conflict of Interest

News release from state comptroller’s office:
A former Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs (TDVA) benefits representative was doing paid consulting work for a Memphis area assisted living facility and performing many of the same tasks she was being paid to perform as a TDVA employee, a review by the Comptroller’s Division of Investigations has found. The investigation revealed that the former employee, Julia Brown, had a private consulting agreement with the facility in which she referred veterans to the facility and helped them get financial assistance to move there.
“There was an obvious conflict of interest between Ms. Brown’s duties as a state employee and the work she was doing on the side as a consultant,” Comptroller Justin P. Wilson said. “It is not proper for someone involved in managing state-administered benefits to steer the recipients of those benefits toward a particular private facility that was compensating her for doing so.”
Between January 2009 and November 2010, Brown requested and received more than 40 hours of overtime pay valued at more than $700 from TVDA for consulting work performed at the assisted living facility after regular work hours. Brown also requested and received more than $200 in reimbursements from TVDA for mileage driven while performing work as a private consultant. Additionally, she used her TDVA e-mail, department fax machine and office computer to create invoices while conducting business as part of her outside consulting agreement.
To view the full report online, go to: http://www.comptroller.tn.gov/ia/
If you suspect fraud, waste or abuse of public funds in Tennessee, you may contact the Comptroller’s hotline toll-free at 1-800-232-5454 or file a report online at: http://www.comptroller.tn.gov/shared/safwa.asp

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