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Tanana officials accused of fraud, theft

Posted: July 24, 2013 - 12:06am

FAIRBANKS — A jury trial will be held in August for two city of Tanana officials accused of securing nearly $1 million in surplus government equipment and then selling it for personal profit.

Tanana City Manager Alfred “Bear” Ketzler, 57, and city expediter Alfred McQuestion Fabian, 62, were indicated by a federal grand jury in May, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported Tuesday.

Each man faces nine counts of fraud and four counts of theft. Trial was set for Aug. 28. Messages left with their attorneys weren’t immediately returned Tuesday.

Both men have pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors claim the men obtained the surplus items, mostly heavy construction equipment, through a federal program that allows local governments to obtain equipment no longer being used. The indictment says Ketzler and Fabian sold the equipment from 2009 to 2012 to Fairbanks residents.

Officials in Tanana weren’t aware of the scheme, according to the document, which says Ketzler “did not fully inform or notify the mayor of Tanana or the City Council for the city of Tanana of the federal excess and surplus property obtained on behalf of the city of Tanana.”

Officials earlier said they wouldn’t pursue charges against the people who bought the equipment because Ketzler presented the sales as legitimate.

“For some of the city of Tanana’s federal excess property illegally sold by Ketzler and Fabian, Ketzler signed a bill of sale stating that Ketzler was the seller and warranted that the property was free of all encumbrances, that it was a good title and right to sell the property was vested in the seller,” the indictment said.

Tanana, with a population of 233 residents, is located 130 miles west of Fairbanks.

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