Man who swindled $13 million from VA sentenced to 6 years

LOS ANGELES — A man who operated parking lots for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in Los Angeles was sentenced Monday for bilking the agency of $13 million and bribing the official who granted his parking contracts.

Richard Scott of Santa Monica was sentenced to nearly six years in prison for conspiracy and wire fraud. He also was ordered to pay the VA $12.6 million in restitution. He pleaded guilty in May.

Scott, owner of Westside Service LLC, kept two sets of books for 15 years, stashing millions in unreported cash and millions more in over-reported expenses, a U.S. attorney's statement said.

Scott began bribing then-VA contracting official Ralph Tillman in 2003 and continued making "hush money" payments to Tillman after his retirement to continue the scheme and attempt to avoid termination of his parking contract, prosecutors said.

Court documents show Scott underreported revenue by at least $4.6 million and over-reported expenses by at least $8.2 million.

Scott used the money to buy three condominiums in Santa Monica for $7 million, a racing boat, and numerous high-end collectible cars, including several classic Corvettes and three Ferraris, according to court documents.

Scott and his wife agreed to forfeit all of the assets.

A message seeking comment from Scott's attorney, Gabriel Pardo, wasn't immediately returned.

Tillman pleaded guilty in February to federal tax charges and lying to investigators when he denied taking bribes from Scott. He faces up to eight years when he is sentenced Aug. 27.

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