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Two indicted on fraud charges

Posted: Monday, March 24, 2003

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A federal grand jury has indicted two Alaska men on charges that they defrauded a Veterans Affairs program of $450,000.

Ronald L. Phillips, who owns a bus transportation company in Anchorage, and Walter L. Gearring Jr., who owns Gear-Ring Bus Line and Transportation in Palmer, face one count of conspiracy to defraud, eight counts of wire fraud and seven counts of mail fraud, according to the indictment.

Phillips and Gearring scammed the Veterans Affairs Vocational Rehabilitation Self-Employment Program, which gives financial assistance to disabled veterans, out of money from February to September 2002, according to the indictment.

Phillips qualified for the program, so he, with Gearring's help, submitted bids asking to repair buses. They then sent invoices saying Gearring's company had performed the work, even though nothing had been fixed.

The program paid the invoices and Gearring and Phillips shared the money, which they used to buy 28 buses, the indictment said.



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