June 11, 2014 / 6:20 PM / in 4 years

FBI probes scandal-tainted Veterans Affairs office in Arizona

WASHINGTON, June 11 (Reuters) - Federal Bureau of Investigation agents will investigate allegations of wrongdoing at an Arizona office of the Veterans Affairs department that became a political problem for President Barack Obama and forced the VA chief to resign.

On Monday, the VA released an internal audit that found more than 100,000 veterans were subjected to a wait of 90 days or more for healthcare appointments, and widespread instances of schemes to mask the delays to meet targets for bonuses.

A U.S. Department of Justice spokesman said on Wednesday that ”At the Department’s direction, the FBI has instructed agents in its Phoenix office to conduct an investigation into the allegations related to the VA.

“Federal prosecutors will be working with these investigators to determine whether there is a basis for criminal charges,” the spokesman said.

The deepening scandal prompted the resignation on May 30 of Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki, a retired Army general wounded three times in Vietnam. (Reporting by Julia Edwards and Aruna Viswanatha; Writing by Jeff Mason; Editing by Grant McCool)

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