By Associated Press - Saturday, February 20, 2021

SEATTLE (AP) - A 63-year-old Renton man has been sentenced to probation in connection with a corruption investigation involving a little-known King County official.

Darrell Winston pleaded guilty to making a false statement to the FBI during an investigation of Allen “Benny” Thomas, who served as the longtime commissioner of King County Drainage District No. 5.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle said that as Thomas and his wife became aware they were under investigation for cheating taxpayers out of about $470,000, they began funneling the money through Winston’s company and back to themselves.

Winston told the FBI his company had been paid for legitimate work maintaining drainage ditches. In reality, prosecutors said he did little to no work but was paid $50,000 by the county and then returned most of the money to the Thomases.

As part of the sentence handed down by U.S. District Judge Richard Jones on Friday, Winston will serve six months of home confinement and must reimburse the county for the $13,000 he kept. The criminal case against the Thomases is pending.

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