U.S. Department of Justice Logo. (Graphic by Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

U.S. Department of Justice Logo. (Graphic by Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Sterling resident charged with wire fraud involving COVID-19 relief funds

Sterling resident Kent Tompkins, 55, was arrested last week, on April 16, on two charges of wire fraud for alleged fraudulent application for COVID-19 relief funds.

An indictment returned by a federal grand jury last month, on March 19, says that Tompkins schemed to defraud the Small Business Administration by illegally applying for and receiving two separate Economic Injury Disaster Loans between May 2020 and November 2021. The indictment says both of those applications included “willfully provided false information.”

As part of both applications, Tompkins was asked about his criminal history, the indictment says.

At the time of the first application, in May 2020, Tompkins had been indicted in South Dakota for one count of attempted aggravated grand theft by deception and two counts of grand theft by deception. By the time of the second application in November 2021, Tompkins had been convicted of one count of grand theft by deception and was serving probation.

Despite being aware of the legal proceedings, the indictment says Tompkins “knowingly and willfully provided false information” on the two applications. He received $95,000 for the first application and was seeking $276,000 for the second.

The indictment charges Tompkins with two counts of wire fraud. A warrant was issued on March 20 and he was arrested on April 16 by a special agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to court documents. If convicted of the crimes, he’ll have to return the funds obtained through the loan.

Tompkins was arraigned and appeared in court in Anchorage on April 17, court documents say. He was released that same day without bail being set.

Reach reporter Jake Dye at jacob.dye@peninsulaclarion.com.

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