Ex-supervisor at Jesse Brown VA Medical Center pleads guilty in fraud scheme

Thomas Duncan, 39, could face up to 20 years in prison for using his position to buy items that were never delivered in exchange for more than $36,000 in kickbacks.

SHARE Ex-supervisor at Jesse Brown VA Medical Center pleads guilty in fraud scheme
Jesse Brown VA Medical Center, located at 820 S. Damen Ave.

Jesse Brown VA Medical Center, located at 820 S. Damen Ave.

Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

A former supervisor at the Jesse Brown Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center has pleaded guilty to charges related to a seven-year, $1.7 million fraud scheme that netted him thousands of dollars, federal prosecutors announced Thursday.

Thomas Duncan, a 39-year-old Chicago resident, pleaded guilty to a charge of wire fraud Tuesday along with Daniel Dingle, a 52-year-old Riverdale resident who was the president of a Dolton-based medical supply company involved in the plot, prosecutors said.

Duncan worked in the supply unit at the VA, which allowed him to oversee and make purchases on behalf of the agency.

According to prosecutors, Duncan was given more than $36,000 in kickbacks from Dingle between 2012 and 2019 after the former VA official used his position to start requests and later authorize purchases of products from Dingle’s company, knowing none would be delivered.

Duncan was able to make purchases without oversight so long as it didn’t exceed a certain amount, which was not listed, according to a 2021 indictment. He then told logistics employees at the VA to mark orders as “completed” in the agency’s computer systems despite no deliveries being made.

Checks and cash were sent to Helping Hands LLC, a “third-party entity” managed by Duncan to conceal what was going on, sometimes described as being for “janitorial work,” according to the plea agreement.

The pair caught wind of an investigation into the scheme being conducted in 2018 by the VA inspector general, prompting Duncan to create fake invoices from Helping Hands LLC claiming to be for work done for Dingle’s company.

Later, during an audit of Dingle’s company’s inventory, Duncan coordinated pickups of supplies to make it appear supplies had been moved. He also instructed Dingle to lie to VA investigators, prosecutors said.

Both could face up to 20 years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000 and a yet-to-be determined amount owed in restitution.

Duncan is scheduled for sentencing Nov. 30. Dingle’s court date hasn’t yet been set.

The Latest
A beautiful early summer day in Chicago sees the former lion of the City Council get a two-year prison term.
The building, according to the Chicago Urban League, is one of the most significant donations in its history and will help bolster its entrepreneurship and workforce development training.
Judge Angela Petrone denied Kevin Jackson’s motion to vacate his conviction in a two-hour ruling on Monday, citing a lack of compelling new evidence to overturn the jury’s verdict.
The man 55, was working near Naper Boulevard and Heatherfield Circle when he was hit by a 74-year-old woman driving a Kia Sportage about 10 a.m., Naperville Police said.
The service was a celebration of Mrs. Robinson’s life, according to the office of the former president and ex-first lady Michelle Obama.