Renton man sentenced in King County Drainage District fraud scheme

Darrell Winston helped Drainage District Commisioner steal tax dollars and lied to investigators, according to Department of Justice.

A 63-year-old Renton man was sentenced Feb. 19 in U.S. District Court in Seattle to three years of probation, including six months of home detention and 40 hours of community service, for lying to federal agents about a fraud scheme carried out by a former King County Drainage District commissioner and his wife.

According to records filed in the case, Darrell N. Winston repeatedly misled FBI agents about his agreement and the work he did for former Drainage District Commissioner Allan Thomas and his wife.

Winston operated a business called City Biz and originally told agents he had submitted a bid and been hired by Thomas to clean some of the drainage ditches in the district, according to documents. In fact, Winston and his company did little or no work, but were paid more than $50,000 by King County based on fake invoices.

According to the Department of Justice, Winston paid most of the money back to Allan Thomas and his wife, and the two used the money for their own benefit. Winston is believed to have lied to investigators on multiple occasions.

Last summer, the grand jury returned a superseding indictment against Thomas and his wife charging them with 15 federal crimes, including conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, and aggravated identity theft in connection with their six-year scheme to divert more than $400,000 in local tax dollars to their own use.

Winston has agreed to pay $12,958 in restitution to victims of the crime. The amount is the total he received as part of the fraud scheme.