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Construction boss gets eight years for $335m fraud

Patrick Michael Dingle, 51, misrepresented his company to win 199 contracts reserved for businesses owned by minorities, veterans and service-disabled veterans (©GCR, illustration by Denis Carrier)
The operations manager of a contractor in Kansas City has been sentenced to eight years in prison without the possibility of parole for his part in a scheme to fraudulently obtain federal construction work worth $335m.

Patrick Michael Dingle, 51, was prosecuted for misrepresenting his company to win 199 contracts reserved for businesses owned by minorities, veterans and service-disabled veterans.

In a separate case, he was also found guilty of filing tax returns that cheated the government out of more than $615,000.

According to the Department of Justice, Dingle was an executive with Zieson Construction Company located in North Kansas City, Missouri.

The company was founded in 2009 by Stephon Ziegler, an African–American service-disabled veteran, and its primary business was obtaining federal construction contracts set aside for award to small businesses owned and controlled by service-disabled veterans or certified minorities.

However, Dingle and his co-conspirators actually controlled and operated Zieson, and received most of its profits.

Ziegler signed checks and bids for government jobs but did not participate in the management and control of day-to-day operations or long-term decision-making.

“This defendant pocketed millions of dollars in profits that should have gone to firms led by disabled veterans and minority owners,” said US Attorney Teresa Moore.

“He not only stole contracts from those firms, he cheated on his taxes and thus stole from honest citizens by not paying his fair share. Now he will go to prison and he will pay back every dollar gained through fraud and deception.”

The court also ordered Dingle to forfeit more than $4.6m, which represented his profit from the scheme, and pay $615,847 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.

On 13 September last year, Dingle pleaded guilty to the charges in both federal cases and admitted that he conspired with Matthew C McPherson, 46, to fraudulently obtain contracts set aside by the federal government for award to small businesses owned and controlled by veterans, service-disabled veterans and certified minorities.

McPherson was sentenced in January to two years and four months in federal prison without parole and Ziegler was sentenced in May to 12 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to making a false statement to the US Department of Veterans Affairs.

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