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Anchorage men slapped with federal charges in property kickback scheme

Jerzy Shedlock

Two Anchorage residents have been charged with multiple counts of wire fraud. The U.S. Attorney's Office District of Alaska in a press release describes a scheme in which two men would sell surplus federal property intended for Alaskans and state nonprofits. Properties were diverted from their intended recipients for nearly two years.

Kenneth Browning, 60, was charged with wire fraud, theft of honest services, money laundering and false tax returns. The same indictment also charges 74-year-old Jerald Briske with 22 counts of wire fraud.

The state employed Browning as a federal property allocation officer within the Division of General Services Property Management Office. Browning's responsibilities included allocating extra federal property to "qualified state recipients," according to the press release. And Briske managed Anchorage-based Coast Line Enterprises, a mining business that sold and salvaged used equipment. The state employee, Browning, diverted properties to Briske, who then would sell the properties to Alaska and Outside businesses, a grand jury indictment alleges. Then, the schemers split the profit.

The offenses charged occurred from May 2008 through April 2010. Browning and Briske sold 22 properties for which they received $140,150. It's also alleged Briske got ahold of about $220,870 worth of property.

Both men could receive more than 30 years in jail for their crimes.

The Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation led the investigation, according to the press release.

Contact Jerzy Shedlock at jerzy(at)alaskadispatch.com