Former head of drainage district and wife convicted of fraud

(Photo Illustration by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The former commissioner of an East King County drainage district and his wife were convicted Thursday in federal court on charges that they stole tax dollars intended for flood control.

A jury found Allan and Joann Thomas guilty of conspiracy, wire fraud, mail fraud and identity theft, U.S. Attorney Nick Brown said in a press release. Joann Thomas was also convicted of money laundering.

"Allan and Joann Thomas didn’t just defraud taxpayers, they abused a position of public trust, and repeatedly invented new lies to cover up old ones," Brown said. "I am thankful the jury saw the truth, rejecting the defense attempt to paint the couple as victims of small-town political intrigue."

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U.S. District Judge Richard Jones set sentencing for September 23.

Allan Thomas served as Commissioner for Drainage District 5 and 5A for more than 35 years, court records said. He was involved in estimating costs for maintenance and authorized payment to service providers who worked on the drainage system, prosecutors said.

Joann Thomas set up a business bank account as early as 2012 under the name A C Services and over the next six years, he had more than $400,000 paid to the company for ditch maintenance. The current commissioner testified that no ditch work had been done there.

Instead, the couple used the funds for things like mortgage payments or property taxes, prosecutors said.

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