Four sentenced for bribery, scheming to defraud through snow removal service for Anchorage Veterans Affairs

Published: Jan. 18, 2022 at 2:26 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Alaska, has announced the sentencing of four Anchorage residents for their involvement in defrauding the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs out of almost $350,000 through a snow removal service, capping a six-year investigation.

According to a press release by the office, Donald Garner, 50, and Richard Vaughn, 74, collaborated to defraud money from the VA through contracting services provided by a company owned by Garner. A third man, 50-year-old Dale Johnson, was sentenced for collecting a portion of the profits illegally made through the scheme.

Johnson was charged in 2019. According to court documents, he owned a business that qualified for “set aside” contracts issued to service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses, but allowed Garner to use his company’s name to bid for an obtain those set aside contracts, for which his own company was not eligible.

Garner contracted with the government to provide various services, including for the Anchorage VA. Vaughn was a contract officer responsible for awarding contracts to companies, and according to the press release, awarded $700,000 to Garner’s company, Veteran Ability, for snow removal for the VA through a service-disabled veteran-owned small business contract.

Between 2014 and 2016, Johnson’s company, ADALECO General LLC, was used by Garner to bid on government contracts that Veteran Ability was not eligible for, but still received the majority of the money granted. After Garner’s company took control of the contract, Johnson’s company received part of the profits.

Garner and Vaughn both were sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison, with three additional years of supervised release, after pleading guilty to one count of bribery involving a public official. Both men were also ordered to pay $347,000 in restitution to the VA.

Johnson was sentenced to five years probation and ordered to pay $54,302 in restitution to the Anchorage VA, which was the amount he profited off the department.

A fourth person, 52-year-old Yalonda Moore, was given three years probation after pleading guilty to one charge of obstruction of justice. Moore was told by Garner to deliver more than $29,000 in bribery payments to Vaughn between 2015 and 2017.

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