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FBI Starts Criminal Probe of VA

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- As congressional probes into excessive wait times and inappropriate scheduling practices at Veteran Affairs hospitals widens, the FBI has gotten into the act as well.

FBI Director James Comey told members of the House Judiciary Committee that the bureau has opened its own criminal investigation to determine if laws were broken when VA employees allegedly fudged records to make it appear that tens of thousands of veterans were receiving timely medical attention.

According to Comey, his agents in Phoenix were heading the FBI probe. It was at the clinic in Phoenix that accusations first arose about interminably long wait times for care that reportedly led to the deaths of as many as 40 patients.

Since then, the VA's inspector general released a scathing report on alleged wrongdoing at dozens of hospitals around the country. The fallout from the scandal resulted in the resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, who admitted problems with his agency were systemic.

Although the Justice Department has launched its own investigation, Comey's testimony before Congress was the first indication that VA officials could face criminal charges if agents turn up concrete evidence of wrongdoing.

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