Four Alaska residents have been sentenced for the roles they played in a scheme that defrauded the federal government out of more than $300,000. All of the defendants waived their right to a jury trial. The sentences were announced in a statement released by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Alaska on Jan. 8. The case was investigated by agencies including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the Small Business Administration, and the Office of the Inspector General.
Bribery and fraud
The individuals sentenced included a 50-year-old government contractor who admitted bribing a 74-year-old VA employee in order to obtain government contracts. One of these contracts was for removing snow from the VA facility in Anchorage. Federal prosecutors say the contractor charged the VA $347,000 for work that was either never performed or unnecessary. Both men were sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. They were also ordered to make restitution. The sentences were handed down according to a plea agreement negotiated by U.S. Attorneys and the defendants’ criminal defense attorneys.
Also sentenced was a 50-year-old Anchorage businessman who allowed his company’s credentials to be used by the government contractor to earn contracts that he did not qualify for in return for $54,302 in kickbacks. He will spend five years on probation. The government contractor’s bookkeeper was also sentenced to probation for revealing details of the government’s investigation into the scheme. She will be supervised for three years.
Some of these defendants would have faced prison sentences of up to 20 years if they had been found guilty by a jury. Federal crimes have harsh sentences, but the outcome of this case shows that federal prosecutors are prepared to be lenient in order to avoid court even when their evidence is compelling.