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North Carolina man sentenced to prison, ordered to pay restitution for conspiring to accept bribes

A Hope Mills man, Daniel Bruce Ross, was sentenced May 12 to 24 months in prison for conspiring to accept bribe payments in exchange for the performance of official acts while working as a federal government employee, according to a press release from the Department of Justice, Eastern District of North Carolina. He was also ordered to pay $21,520 in restitution. Ross previously pleaded guilty to the charge.

According to court documents and other information presented in court, Ross worked for the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in Fayetteville as an agent for the Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grant program, which provides federal funds to eligible veterans with certain severe, service-connected disabilities for the purpose of constructing adapted homes or modifying existing homes. SAH agents have day-to-day responsibility for managing the grant program, including recommending action on grant applications to VA supervisory officials, stated the release. Among other things, SAH agents are required to inform the veteran that he or she may choose their own builder; agents are prohibited from recommending a particular builder.

“During the offense period, Ross was the assigned SAH agent for multiple grant projects awarded to All American Home Renovations (AAHR), a Fayetteville-based construction company then-owned and operated by Marc Schantz. According to the investigation, Ross abused his position as an SAH agent to steer over $1 million worth of grant projects to AAHR in exchange for monetary payments from Schantz,” stated the release. “For example, Ross routinely advised his VA supervisors to approve grant awards to veterans in which AAHR was improperly and deceptively designated as a particular veteran’s ‘builder of choice’ when, in fact, Ross had misled the veteran to believe that AAHR had been selected for them by the VA. AAHR concealed the unlawful payments to Ross by transferring the funds to a dormant business owned by Ross, making it appear as if the business was providing legitimate subcontracting services to AAHR.”

G. Norman Acker III, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Louise W. Flanagan. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs – Office of Inspector General investigated the case and Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam F. Hulbig prosecuted.

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