Sacramento, California - Anthony Castaneda, 45, of Oakdale in Stanislaus County, was sentenced Thursday by Judge Morrison C. England Jr. to serve five months of house arrest and two years of probation for receipt of a gratuity by a public official, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
According to court documents, while working as a contracting official at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Castaneda was in a position to influence the award of construction contracts at VA facilities, including the VA hospital at the former Mather Field in Sacramento. In 2010, Castaneda received from a construction contractor a prepaid vacation package at a theme park worth approximately $2,250. Castaneda and his family traveled to the theme park for five days in October 2010. At the time that he accepted that gift, Castaneda was in a position to influence the award of construction contracts by making recommendations about which contractors should be given VA business. Court records also show that Castaneda received a second vacation package from the same contractor, worth approximately $1,440, in 2008.
In addition to his period of house arrest, Castaneda was ordered to forfeit the value of the 2010 vacation package and to pay a $2,000 fine.
The contractor in question has been charged separately in federal court in San Jose: United States v. Herrera, case number 5:14-cr-219. He pleaded guilty and on December 16, 2015, was sentenced to three years’ probation.
This case was the product of an investigation by the Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Matthew G. Morris prosecuted the case.