The FBI has opened a criminal investigation into the Department of Veterans Affairs to help determine whether hospital administrators knowingly lied about wait times for veterans in order to receive performance bonuses, according to FBI Director James Comey.

The investigation, Comey told lawmakers, is being led by the FBI’s field office in Phoenix, where allegations of fraud and fake waiting lists generated what has become a nationwide scandal.

The Justice Department, which asked the FBI to become involved in the matter, is responding in part to pressure from members of Congress who have repeatedly called for a criminal investigation. Earlier this week, the department’s Office of Inspector General said it has expanded its own probe to 69 medical facilities and has contacted the Justice Department in cases where there are indications of potential criminal activity.

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