Contractor charged in Anchorage VA fraud case

(U.S. Department of Justice)

The Justice Department has charged an Anchorage contractor with fraud, saying he received “kickback” payments for a snow removal contract at a Department of Veterans Affairs hospital.

Dale Johnson, 57, filed a plead agreement with the court for a single count of conspiracy for his role. In it, he said he had misused his eligibility status under a preferential contracting program for military veterans with service-connected disabilities operating small businesses. Johnson’s business got a two-year contract valued at $740,554 for snow removal. But as prosecutors lay out, Johnson’s business operated as a “pass through” entity for another operation that was ineligible for the contract.

“Mr. Johnson received $54,000, approximately, in kick back payments,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Tansey, who prosecuted the case.

Johnson has not yet been sentenced, and could receive up to five years in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.

Two other men are named in the case, Ronald Gardner and Richard Vaughan. They face 31 federal charges for bribery and wire fraud for what the Justice Department alleges are multiple schemes defrauding the Anchorage VA in contracts worth millions of dollars. Those cases are ongoing.

Correction: An earlier version of this story and its initial headline incorrectly said Johnson had pleaded guilty. He has filed a plea agreement admitting to the charge.