Investigation launched into Alaska weight scale fraud

Officials say state may be paying for too many loads

Posted: Thursday, December 27, 2007

ANCHORAGE - An investigation has been launched into weight scale fraud, which one state official says has become a serious problem in Alaska.

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The problem involves portable truck scales that are often located at construction sites on state projects. Trucks are weighed empty and then weighed full. The difference is the payload, or the net weight of the materials being delivered or transported.

The information is recorded on a weight ticket and submitted to the state for payment.

"One load is delivered, but (the state) is paying for two," said Aves Thompson, executive director of the Alaska Trucking Association.

Since state projects are funding with taxpayer money, that means Alaskans are paying the price.

Keith said individuals, not companies, likely would be indicted.

"Companies don't even know it's going on," he told AGC members.

Keith said after the meeting he couldn't comment further because the fraud allegations were under formal investigation.

Keith said the federal Office of Inspector General and Alaska State Troopers are investigating. The Alaska Department of Transportation is cooperating but is not in charge of the investigation.

Transportation department spokesman Rick Feller also refused to comment.

Megan Peters, the Alaska Department of Public Safety spokeswoman, said the case is an ongoing criminal investigation and no one has been formally charged.

"In 2007, in Western Alaska, it was alleged that a construction company was misusing scales to manipulate weight readings," Peters said in an e-mailed response to questions. "The allegation is for an isolated incident that occurred while the company was working on a state project. If and when charges are filed, more information will be available from us and through court documents."

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