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Morning Sun
  • County 911 director indicted

  • The Crawford County 911 director and a local businessman have been charged with defrauding the state and local municipalities in an alleged bidding scheme.

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  • The Crawford County 911 director and a local businessman have been charged with defrauding the state and local municipalities in an alleged bidding scheme.
    John Gagliardo, 911 director, and George Washington, owner of Washington Electronics, have been charged with two counts each of attempted mail fraud and two counts each of attempted wire fraud. Gagliardo is also charged with 10 counts of making false statements to the FBI for incidents alleged to have occurred in 2010 and 2011.
    Allegations
    Gagliardo has worked full-time for Crawford County as 911 director since 1988 and began working as a salesman for Washington Electronics in 2009. (County officials say Gagliardo later retired as 911 director, but returned to the role in a part-time position.)
    The indictment claims revolve around the Kansas Governor’s Grant Program for “911 Wireless Enhancement Grants,” which offer state and federal funds for counties to upgrade 911 equipment. As part of the bid requirements, at least two competitive bids from two vendors had to be obtained.
    The indictment alleges Gagliardo and Washington knowingly submitted bids through K-Communications and K-Sirens, both of Scammon, as a higher-bidding competitor to Washington Electronics. The indictment claims both Gagliardo and Washington knew that these two companies were fake and their higher bids would ensure that Washington Electronics won the bid.
    The “victims” of the alleged mail fraud are Crawford and Allen counties, and the alleged wire fraud counts detail two separate e-mails sent by Gagliardo to Angela Murphy, 911 director of Allen County.
    Further, Gagliardo is accused of 10 false statements to the FBI:
    • That he failed to closely examine the bids and didn’t realize he’d submitted bids from fake vendors
    • That it was common for vendors to get bids from competitors to submit as part of the bid process.
    • That he believed Kris Washington was operating K-Communications from Scammon. (Kris Washington is not a part of the indictment.)
    • That he was not aware George Washington had given him fraudulent bids.
    • That he was not aware he submitted fraudulent bids for the city of Farlington and Allen County.
    • That once he was aware of the fraudulent bids, that he informed the state of Kansas, the Crawford County Commission, the city of Farlington and Allen County.
    If convicted, Gagliardo and George Washington could face a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000 on each of the wire and mail fraud charges. In addition, Gagliardo faces a maximum penalty of five years and a fine up to $250,000 for each count of making a false statement to investigators.
    Gagliardo and Washington have been issued a summons for a first appearance before Magistrate Judge Kenneth G. Gale at 1:30 p.m. on June 12 in Wichita.
    Response
    Page 2 of 2 - Calls were made to Gagliardo and Washington, but neither could be reached for comment.
    Although the charges were filed on Wednesday of last week, Gagliardo appeared before the Crawford County Commission at its regularly scheduled meeting on Friday to briefly talk about storm sirens.
    County Commissioner Tom Moody said he was not made aware of the charges until notified by County Counselor Jim Emerson at 10 p.m. on Saturday. Emerson said he had not been informed by prosecutors and discovered the charges online Saturday. Emerson said Tuesday that he has not been briefed on any of the charges.
    The typical 10 a.m. Tuesday meeting had been canceled because of the Memorial Day weekend, and publication of the meeting could not be made in time for the meeting to convene at its regular time.
    Instead, the commission will hold a special meeting at 9 a.m. Wednesday to discuss the charges and potential action.
    “I fully believe it will be dealt with [Wednesday],” Moody said. “I’m not sure what all is going on, because we were not made fully aware of it, but I expect to fully address it at this time.”

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