CBS/AP [original article]
LOS ANGELES — A California businessman has been arrested on charges of stealing more than $11 million from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, CBS Los Angeles reports.
Prosecutors say the owner of Westside Services LLC — 58-year-old Richard Scott — was arrested without incident Wednesday morning at his home in Santa Monica.
Authorities subsequently seized his assets, which included a racing boat, three Ferrari vehicles, a 1969 Corvette L88, two high-end Mercedes-Benz vehicles and a Shelby Super Snake Mustang.
Scott is not scheduled to enter a plea until Nov. 30.
An after-hours message seeking comment from his attorney, Michael Proctor, wasn’t immediately returned.
Scott is accused of using the money to fund a lavish lifestyle that included multimillion-dollar condos, several luxury cars and a speedboat.
He’s also charged with bribing the VA official who granted his parking contracts for years starting in 2003. The official abruptly retired in 2014 when confronted by federal agents.
“He was definitely bribing me, and I was definitely looking the other way,” the official said in the affidavit.
The official was not identified, and it’s not clear whether he is also facing charges.
According to a U.S. attorney’s statement, Scott kept two sets of books for 15 years, stashing millions in unreported cash and millions more in over-reported expenses.
Scott charged the VA for extensive travel, though all his business took place in the same area of Los Angeles, an FBI agent said in an affidavit of more than 100 pages outlining the alleged fraud.
Scott underreported revenue by at least $4.6 million and overreported expenses by at least $8.2 million, court papers say.
The vast VA parking lots are on prime real estate in West Los Angeles and are also used for UCLA basketball games and other events.
Federal agents say Scott also pocketed an undetermined amount from those events that went unreported.