Darrel N. Winston was charged with lying to investigators on Aug. 18.

Darrel N. Winston was charged with lying to investigators on Aug. 18.

Renton man involved in Drainage District 5 scam pleads guilty

Darrell N. Winston allegedly helped Allan and Joann Thomas try to conceal about $54,000 that was supposed to go to drainage ditch maintenance, but went to the Thomas’ personal use instead.

The Renton man accused of lying to investigators in the Drainage District 5 tax fraud case against locals Allen and Joann Thomas has pled guilty.

According to the Department of Justice, Darrell N. Winston made his plea on Sept. 30, and faces up to five years in prison when he is sentenced on Dec. 18.

Winston was just one cog in the machine that allegedly allowed Allen and Joann Thomas to steal more than $460,000 from local taxpayers since 2012.

Until last year, Allen was a long-time commissioner of Drainage District 5, meaning he was responsible for making sure about 18 miles of drainage ditches around Enumclaw remained clear to control flooding.

However, around 2012, Allen allegedly stopped performing work on these ditches. Instead, he sent fake invoices to King County, which in turn sent the tax money it collected from local residents to reimburse DD5 for the “work”. The money was then used for personal use, including on the Thomas’ farm just east of Enumclaw.

The city of Enumclaw became aware no work was being done on these ditches and opened an investigation in 2017.

Aware of the investigation, the Thomases supposedly attempted to obscure their scheme by enlisting the help of Winston and his company, City Biz.

According to the DOJ, Allan allegedly asked Winston to come up with two bills for drainage work, one dated for Oct. 8, 2018 for around $24,000, and another for Jan. 2, 2019, for around $30,000. When King County paid Winston, he then deposited the money into a City Biz bank account, but “that same day, he withdrew money and purchased a cashier’s check… payable to A.T.”, court documents read, referring to Allan Thomas. That deposit then showed up in Thomas’ bank account on the same day.

Winston was interviewed by the FBI on Sept. 25, 2019.

According to the DOJ, Winston said he submitted a formal bid to DD5 to win two contracts for drainage clearance work, rented equipment to perform the jobs, and spent a week on each project.

The DOJ contends Winston did not submit any bid.

“When asked whether he had paid any money to A.T. related to the form for DD5… Winston initially denied that he had paid any money to A.T. or provided any cashier’s checks to A.T.,” court documents read. “Winston subsequently stated that he might have given A.T. ‘a couple thousand dollars’ as ‘a tip’ for helping him out, but that this was not ‘a bribe.’”

Winston was then shown copies of the cashiers’ checks he made out to Allan Thomas. Afterwards, he stated Thomas “paid for the equipment rental and that [Thomas] had done a lot of the work, and that that was why… Winston had paid money to [him],” documents continue.

Winston again told FBI investigators that he submitted an official bid for the projects during an Oct. 18, 2019 interview.

The false statement charge against Winston was filed Aug. 18.

One charge of mail fraud against the Thomases was filed September 2019, but superseding charges – one count of conspiracy, four counts of mail fraud, four counts of wire fraud, two counts of aggravated identity theft and four counts of money laundering – were filed Sept. 20.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@courierherald.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.courierherald.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 500 words or less.

More in News

Photo by Ron Heusser
Black Diamond history museum to reopen Halloween

Docents and volunteers took the time it was closed to revamp the displays.

Image courtesy Public Health Insider
What do rising COVID-19 numbers mean for schools? | Public Health Insider

The DOH considers 75 cases or more over two weeks per 100,000 to be a marker of relatively high risk for in-person learning.

Sam Dubal was reported missing Oct. 12.
Search for missing hiker continues

Sam Dubal, who was last known to be hiking the Mother Mountain Loop, was reported missing Oct. 12.

$100,000 was recently given to two dozen local businesses for COVID-19 relief. Image courtesy the city of Enumclaw
Two dozen businesses receive Enumclaw CARES Act business grant funds

About $100,000 was recently given to local businesses.

File photo
State Supreme Court strikes down $30 car-tab initiative

Justices unanimously agreed that voter-approved Initiative 976 is unconstitutional.

Pictured is Mount Rainier with all the current and proposed lahar monitoring systems. The green dots show where there are already monitoring stations; the blue dots show proposed stations that have already been approved by the National Park System; and the orange dots are the dozen proposed monitoring stations that the national park wants public input on. Image courtesy National Park Service
New lahar monitoring systems proposed for Mount Rainier

These new monitoring systems could affect the picturesque quality of the national park, and Mount Rainier wants your opinion on the project.

Allen Mullins, a.k.a. Captain America, stands outside the Blazing Glory coffee house off SR 410 with barista Roslyn before he took off to Yakima. Photo by Ray Miller-Still
Captain America departs Enumclaw

Allen Mullins travels the country supporting first responders, firefighters, and anyone who needs a leg up.

Legislative District 31 Position No. 2 candidates Tom Clark and Eric Robertson
In-paper debate: final round between Robertson, Clark

Candidates answer final questions about balancing the budget and keeping local news sources alive.

Sam-Dubal
Hiker missing on Mount Rainier | Mount Rainier National Park

Sam Dubal, who was last known to be hiking the Mother Mountain Loop, was reported missing Oct. 12.

Most Read