Paperwork error spares VA fraudsters from punishment

A pair of Department of Veterans Affairs officials who were demoted after the inspector general found they had stolen $400,000 from the agency won't actually be facing any punishment because the VA bungled the paperwork for their demotions.

The VA announced last month that Diana Rubens and Kimberly Graves would be stripped of their present positions after they were both accused of manipulating a VA program meant to relocate agency employees who transfer long distances to take jobs within the VA. Rubens fraudulently netted more than $274,000 and Graves more than $129,000, according to the agency's inspector general, but the VA indicated it would make no attempt to recover the money they siphoned from the program.

The VA has now been forced to rescind their demotions thanks to a paperwork error, effectively negating the only punishment the two officials would have received.

Both Rubens and Graves had appealed the VA's original decision to the Merit Systems Protection Board, a body that helps sort through disagreements among federal employees and management.

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