Crime & Courts

Kenai Peninsula contractor charged with COVID-19 relief fraud

The owner of a Sterling construction company was arrested this week on federal charges that accuse him of illegally obtaining COVID-19 relief funds.

Kent Tompkins, 55, was indicted last month on two counts of wire fraud. He appeared in Anchorage’s U.S. District Court for the first time Wednesday.

Tompkins declined to comment on the case when reached by phone on Thursday.

Tompkins applied for two separate Economic Injury Disaster Loans for his business, J & B Construction, in 2020 and 2021, according to the federal indictment. In the applications, he lied about his prior criminal history, the indictment said.

Tompkins was indicted in 2018 on multiple felony grand theft charges in South Dakota and had been convicted of those crimes by the time he filed the second loan application, according to the indictment.

In the South Dakota case, Tompkins formed a sham collection agency in an attempt to steal more than $700,000 from an elderly person and actually obtained $40,000 from the victim, according to a statement from the South Dakota Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division. He received a suspended prison sentence, was placed on probation for five years and ordered to repay the victim, according to the federal indictment filed in Alaska.

In the Alaska fraud case, Tompkins received more than $95,000 through the COVID-19 loans and had applied for another $276,000, the indictment said. The document didn’t make it clear how Tompkins intended to spend the money.


He was arrested by an FBI agent in Sterling on Tuesday and remanded to the Anchorage Correctional Complex, according to court records. Tompkins was released from custody after his first court hearing on Wednesday and will retain an attorney, the records showed.

Nationwide, more than $200 billion may have been stolen from COVID-19 relief initiatives, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration inspector general. Several related charges have been brought in Alaska, including a case against an Anchorage city commissioner accused of fraudulently obtaining $1.6 million in recovery money for her charity.

Tess Williams

Tess Williams is a reporter focusing on breaking news and public safety. Before joining the ADN in 2019, she was a reporter for the Grand Forks Herald in North Dakota. Contact her at