Albert S. Poawui pleads guilty to VA fraud

| April 18, 2018

The Washington Post reports that Albert S. Poawui pleaded guilty in court this week to defrauding the Veterans’ Affairs Department of about $2.2 million in kickbacks;

In 2015, Poawui and a vocational counselor at VA agreed Poawui would pay the official a 7 percent cash kickback for VA payments to Atius, ostensibly for vocational training for disabled veterans, the statement said.

Between 2015 and 2017, VA paid Atius more than $2.2 million, according to the statement, for inflated invoices that showed veterans attending classes for 32 hours per week when the program offered only six hours weekly.

From the Justice Department;

Poawui admitted that the counselor and a second [Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) program] counselor approved payments to Atius without regard for the accuracy of necessary documentation in order to maximize the scheme’s profits. Between August 2015 and December 2017, Poawui and the scheme’s other participants caused the VA to pay Atius approximately $2,217,259.44. Poawui paid the first VR&E counselor over $155,000 as part of the illicit bribery scheme. These bribery payments were hand-delivered by Poawui or an Atius employee to the VR&E counselor or the counselor’s assistant, a veteran who was enrolled in the VR&E program.

Poawui also admitted that, with the knowing assistance of a second Atius employee, he made numerous false representations to the VA to enhance the scheme’s profits. For example, Poawui and the second employee certified to the VA that veterans attending Atius were enrolled in up to 32 hours of class per week, when in fact both knew that Atius offered a maximum of six weekly class hours. After the VA initiated an administrative audit of Atius, Poawui, the VR&E counselor and the Atius employee took steps to conceal the truth about earlier misrepresentations they had made to the VA.

Category: Veterans' Affairs Department

Comments (22)

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  1. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    He took what was behind door #2 but what he got–or will get–is a secret. The DOJ account doesn’t contain the plea bargain specifics, just the wonderful details of the scheme. I have no doubt that this another instance in which a good case went untried. The fact is that guilty verdicts are the gauge by which the measure of prosecutors is taken and a guilty pursuant to a plea deal is a helluva lot less work that a guilty trial outcome. How many defendants who are not guilty take deals? Exactly. Know what’s worse? If a defendant forces a trial and the prosecution has to work, the prosecution goes for the jugular. That’s not justice either.

    • Animal says:

      Maybe what he got or will get will end up going in door #2 via his new husband on the cell block.

    • Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

      It depends on how you define innocence and how much of an attorney you are able to afford.

      There are hundreds of examples of women who have a “boyfriend” who leaves and then the cops show up and discover some drugs left behind by the drug dealer boyfriend. Those women often go to jail for not actually having done anything other than be really fucking stupid with who they choose to enter relationships with.

      When 97% of federal cases are resolved with plea deals you know the system has become even more skewed.

      We’ve criminalized so many behaviors over the last two decades we now arrest 11 million people a year. If those people forced the government to take them to trial our court system would cease to function at all, which might be better seeing how fucking miserably it operates now. But a lot of those 11 million are poor enough that they depend on a public defender which in my experience means they go to jail or take a plea and pay money they often don’t have and become even more beholden to the state.

      It’s a problem the rest of us don’t want to discuss because it raises some pretty uncomfortable questions about prison for profit corrupting the system even more, and it reminds us that we haven’t actually been a free people for quite some time in most of the nation.

      Ayn Rand may have been a nut, but even a nut will occasionally come up with some decent observations. She said, “There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.”

      • 2/17 Air Cav says:

        “It depends on how you define innocence….” I never confuse innocence with a not guilty verdict. The system is screwed up in many ways and, as a practical matter, truly presumes all charged to be guilty. The presumption of innocence goes to who has the burden of proving the case. How else does one explain bail, especially high bail for certain crimes, especially when one has lived in the same area for years? The risk of flight is at issue, or so it’s said. Well, guess what? Flight is admissible evidence of guilt. I could write many books about what I’ve seen and heard over the years that kicks Lady Justice dead in the ass. My beef with these prosecutors is that they wheel and deal, threaten and cajole, instead of making a case and putting their efforts on the record, at a trial. To be sure, if no one took a deal and everyone entitled to a jury trial demanded one, the speedy trial rule violations would see thousands of cases dismissed and more gov’t lawyers going into private practice to escape the mess.

  2. Wilted Willy says:

    I wish they would check out the scam my pos brother has been pulling for 20+ years now? I think we should all get on the gravy train??

    • USAF RET says:

      Dude report him to VA IG:
      (800) 488-8244

      In your hands now W2. Do it or please stop bitching

      • Wilted Willy says:

        I have been reporting him for two years now and nobody has done anything!!

        • USAF RET says:

          Put all facts in body of email – only facts not hearsay or rumor. Don’t use attachments. Send to both those email address with received and read receipt. request acknowledgement that they received and are working it. If you have already done that I’d do a congressional complaint – that usually gets prompt service

          • Wilted Willy says:

            Tried my senator as well, all he did was send a request for him to sign so that he could look at his records, I’ve reported him to the VAIG, FBI and local law enforcement, all to no avail I even tried my local VSO and all she did after 4 months was refer me to Phoenix. Believe me, I have tried them all!

            • 2/17 Air Cav says:

              WW. Bitch all you want. Someday, someone in a position to do something may see your postings here. I’m guessing that’s what you’re hoping. I’d go back to the FBI. I’d call the local FBI office in your area and speak with an agent. None of that will be of any good if you don’t have some evidence for them to sniff at. I would not hesitate to contact the US Atty Gen for your state and, if you did it before, do it again. When all else fails and you have evidence, such as pics of him digging a ditch or carrying cement while collecting disability, you can try the local affiliate’s “I-Team.” Persistence always pays.

              • Wilted Willy says:

                Thanks 2/17, I’m glad somebody understands! I have spent hours on the phone with the IG and FBI both, they won’t even tell me if they are investigating him or not. They refuse to call me back and give me any status at all? I even spent an hour on the phone with one of the lawers at the VA. He basically told me there was nothing he could do for me?? Even the front page article in the local newspaper didn’t do any good except for them taking away his phony Purple Heart license plates. I have managed to get him removed from all of the Purple Heart web pages and with Jonn’s help have exposed him for the phony that he is, but he is still getting his $3,200 a month check from the VA. I have even tried to get the whistle blower sites to do something, but never heard back from any of them either. I’m sorry if I have offended anyone with my complaining, but this just really pisses me off when there are real Vets out there that truly deserve and need this money. Thanks for listening.
                Take care,

                • HMC Ret says:

                  You say all you like, Willy. I enjoy reading them and wish I could add something of substance that would be of help. If he is getting $3200 monthly, that means he is 100% P&T orIU. Same amount I get. If he is P&T, I’m not sure there is much that can be done, b/c his disabilities, using VA MagicMath, equal 95% or more, which would be rounded to 100%. If IU, he has been deemed unemployable even though his combined disabilities do not add to 95%. The only way to take away his 100% or at least reduce that amount, would be a reevaluation, and I don’t know how you, basically a third party in the equation, could cause that to be done. Are you saying he has somehow manipulated his way to 100% where there is no documentation to support that finding? I’d like to hear the back story on this, I really would. You would have to have the ear of someone who could order a reevaluation, and I honestly don’t know how you would pull that off. You seem to have touched all the bases. So in what category does he fall IU or P&T and what has he done to make you think he is not worthy of that finding? Someone correct me if my numbers are off a little. It’s been 9 years since I retired from the VA and things may have changed.

                  • Wilted Willy says:

                    He got 100% disability for his phony PTSD and he never saw a day in combat! If you go back and look at his phony dd214 you will see how much he is full of shit!

  3. Hondo says:

    What I want to know is who were the two VA employees involved, and what is happening/going to happen to them?

    I hope the US Attorney tears those two a new flatus vent. Not only did they aid and abet someone in defrauding the Federal government; they also illicitly profited from their official position. In my book, that makes them true scum.

    • 2/17 Air Cav says:

      And that’s what I was wondering. When there are multiple defendants, you turn one, as the prosecutor, and he hangs the others. That’s the only deal that should be made, in my book.

      • Tom Stokes says:

        I can tell you exactly who one of them is. He convinced me to waste my time at this school after I got my degree. He wouldn’t enter me in employment readiness until I got certifications. My degree had nothing to do with IT. I went to the classes but it was like a foreign language. Eventually, he disappeared for good. I was assigned to a new case manager who confirmed he was no longer with the VA and confirmed my suspicions about Atius and my longtime case manager. James E. King, if I ever see you again…..

  4. David says:

    Who says kneecapping is out of style? The Irish in me says it’s right.

  5. Sparks says:


  6. A Proud Infidel®™ says:

    Bubba & Thor’s new cell block BITCH!

  7. LiRight says:

    I’d say that they should hang him from his balls….but that would be impossible, since he has none!

  8. Just An Old Dog says:

    Unfortunately there are a lot of jobs in the VA where this can happen. If nothing else there are jobs that pay extremely well and the people that get the positions do very little other than check the block.
    I had a “mentor” whose only job was to just hang out with Veterans. We were supposed to have 2 hours together every other week.
    He was a constant no show.