Gregory F. Cravens, 47, and Rodney Simon, 75, will avoid prison and be on unsupervised probation under plea agreements filed this week in U.S. District Court. Sentencing has not been scheduled.
Officials say the men provided drug-use information about unidentified veterans to Market Strategies International for nearly five years.
Simon had been retired from his job as the pharmacy information management specialist at the Veterans Administration Medical Center for about two weeks in October 2009 when the hospital received a package from Market Strategies addressed to him. Assuming it was a business-related document, an employee opened it and discovered a spreadsheet detailing travel reimbursements paid to Simon and Cravens by Market Strategies. The trips were hospital training trips paid for by the VA.
Cravens was placed on leave and a federal investigation ensued, culminating in the plea agreement filed Dec. 10.
Its not clear how the information that the Idaho men provided was used.
Steven Sharpe, a special attorney for the U.S. attorney general in Wyoming, is handling the case because the U.S. Attorneys Office in Boise had a conflict of interest. Sharpe declined comment. Veterans hospital spokesman Josh Callihan also declined comment, citing the ongoing case.
Market Strategies, a market research company based in Michigan with offices in six states and Hong Kong, could not be reached for comment.
Federal investigators reviewed records from Market Strategies that showed Cravens and Simon were providing information about use of the drug Epogen, which aims to help the body produce red blood cells.
The company paid $12,000 per year for the information by sending Simon and Cravens reimbursement checks for travel expenses.
The VA hospital never got any money from the company, and court documents say no employees other than Simon and Cravens were aware of the arrangement.
Of the 14 trips Cravens and Simon took together, costs for six were covered by both the VA and Market Strategies, records showed. Records showed the men often over-billed the company, such as a June 2008 trip to Florida where the submitted airline bill was $828 when the actual cost was $280.
The men received more than $46,000 from Market Strategies between 2005 and 2009, according to the plea agreements.
Craven and Simon are to plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of executive employee receiving supplemental compensation from a private party. The charge carries a maximum sentence of a year in prison, but the plea agreements call for prosecutors to recommend unsupervised probation.
The men and their lawyers did not return phone calls seeking comment. Simon lives in Boise. A woman who identified herself as Cravens ex-wife said Cravens has moved out of Idaho.
Meghann M. Cuniff: 377-6418