Two Anchorage men are facing federal charges including wire fraud and money laundering, after prosecutors say they illegally sold more than $220,000 of surplus federal property destined for other groups.
A Friday statement from U.S. Attorney Karen Loeffler’s office says an indictment charges 60-year-old Kenneth Browning with wire fraud, theft of honest services, money laundering and false tax returns. Jerald Briske, 74, was charged with 22 counts of wire fraud.
An indictment says that during the time of the offenses, from May 2008 through April 2010, Browning worked at the state General Services Administration as a federal property allocation officer. Briske ran Anchorage-based Coast Line Enterprises Inc., a business which sold used equipment and also did work in salvage and mining.
“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,” prosecutors wrote. “Briske, in coordination with Browning, would then sell the fraudulently obtained surplus federal property to other businesspeople in Alaska and elsewhere.”
The profits of the scheme -- with officials saying Briske illegally received about $220,870 in goods, while Browning got $140,150 in illegal payments -- were allegedly split between the two men. In addition to receiving the bulk of the alleged profits, Browning also received the bulk of the charges in the case.
“Browning is also charged with 22 counts of theft of honest services fraud for defrauding the state of Alaska,” prosecutors wrote. “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 wire fraud, theft of honest services and money laundering charges all carry maximum $250,000 fines if convicted, with the former two crimes subject to maximum 30-year prison terms and money laundering carrying a maximum 10-year prison term. Filing of false tax returns is punishable by up to three years in prison and a $100,000 fine.
Browning and Briske are set to be arraigned March 27.
Contact Chris Klint