WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutors have decided not to press criminal charges against two former executives at the Department of Veterans Affairs who were accused of manipulating the agency’s hiring system for their own gain.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia said Thursday it has declined a referral from the VA inspector general for criminal prosecution of Diana Rubens and Kimberly Graves.

The inspector general said in a report this fall that Rubens and Graves forced lower-ranking regional managers to accept job transfers against their will. Rubens and Graves then stepped into the vacant positions themselves, keeping their pay while reducing their responsibilities.

Rubens had earned $181,497 as director of the Philadelphia regional office for the Veterans Benefits Administration, while Graves earned $173,949 as leader of the St. Paul, Minnesota, regional office. They were demoted in November, but their demotions were rescinded after a paperwork mix-up. The VA has said it will reissue the demotions after the problem is resolved.