Former VA hospital manager sentenced to 6 months for accepting kickbacks

Ralph Johnson, a former manager at the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center, was sentenced to six months in federal prison for accepting $30,000 in kickbacks and bribes to steer contracts toward a Florida couple, Stars and Stripes reported March 15.

Mr. Johnson met the couple, Earron Starks, 53, and Carlicha Starks, 44, through a woman he was having an extramarital affair with while working at a VA hospital in Mechanicsburg, W.Va. 

Mr. and Ms. Starks ran Ekno Medical Supply and Collondale Medical Supply from 2009 to 2019.

The couple has pleaded guilty to paying kickbacks on $7 million worth of contracts to Florida VA facilities; after their arrest, they led officials to Mr. Johnson, 56.

In June 2019, the couple wore recording equipment and handed a binder full of $5,000 in cash to Mr. Johnson.

Mr. Johnson is at least the third Philadelphia VAMC employee to face corruption charges since 2020, according to Stars and Stripes.

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