Anchorage Residents Charged with Wire Fraud, Theft of Honest Services, Money Laundering, and False Tax Returns
|U.S. Attorney’s Office March 01, 2013|
ANCHORAGE—U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced today that Anchorage resident Kenneth Browning, 60, was charged with wire fraud, theft of honest services, money laundering, and false tax returns. The same indictment also charges Anchorage resident Jerald Briske, 74, with 22 counts of wire fraud. The offenses charged occurred from May 2008 through April 2010.
According to the indictment, Browning was employed as a Federal Property Allocation Officer with the state of Alaska, Department of Administration, Division of General Services, Property Management Office. In this position, Browning was responsible for allocating surplus federal property to qualified state recipients. Briske was a corporate officer for Coast Line Enterprises Inc., a used equipment selling, salvage, and mining business run by Briske and located in Anchorage, Alaska.
The indictment alleges a scheme between Browning and Briske whereby Browning would illegally divert surplus federal property intended for qualified state agencies or non-profits to Briske, knowing that Briske was not qualified to receive the property. Briske, in coordination with Browning, would then sell the fraudulently obtained surplus federal property to other businesspeople in Alaska and elsewhere, and both Briske and Browning would share the illegally obtained proceeds derived from this scheme.
The indictment alleges that Browning and Briske conducted 22 separate transactions as part of the scheme to defraud. As a result of the scheme, Browning received approximately $140,150 in illegally obtained payments from Briske. It is alleged that Briske obtained approximately $220,870 worth of property to which neither he nor Coast Line Enterprises Inc. were entitled.
Browning is also charged with 22 counts of theft of honest services fraud for defrauding the state of Alaska. He is also charged with one count of money laundering by using proceeds of the scheme to purchase a 2004 Ford Mustang convertible. Browning is also charged with four counts of filing false tax returns for failing to report income from the scheme on his tax returns.
The maximum penalty for both wire fraud and theft of honest services is 30 years’ imprisonment with a $250,000 fine. The maximum penalty for money laundering is 10 years’ imprisonment with a $250,000 fine. Filing false tax returns carries a three-year term of imprisonment and a fine of $100,000. An arraignment date has been set for March 27, 2013.
Ms. Loeffler commends the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for the investigation of this case.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.