June 21, 2016
Former Owner of Virginia Automotive Repair Business Sentenced
On June 21, 2016, Thomas Ahalt was sentenced in U.S. District Court, Alexandria, VA, to 12 months’ probation and ordered to pay $412,800 in restitution to FTA and $103,200 in restitution to Loudoun County, VA. Ahalt is the former president and owner of Mobile Auto Truck Repair (Mobile Auto), Purcellville, VA. In April 2016, he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery concerning programs receiving Federal funds.
Ahalt rented space at Virginia Regional Transit (VRT) and performed maintenance and repair on buses and vehicles owned and operated by VRT. VRT provides transportation services throughout northern Virginia and is funded by a combination of Federal, State, and local grants, including grants from DOT.
Ahalt participated in two fraud schemes from January 2007 through December 2015. In the first scheme, Ahalt and a former CEO of VRT agreed Mobile Auto would submit—and VRT would approve—false invoices for certain labor charges. In exchange, Ahalt would make biweekly kickback payments to the former CEO totaling half of the additional labor charges. Between 2007 and 2015, VRT paid Mobile Auto approximately $380,000 in fraudulent additional labor charges. During the same period, Ahalt gave the former CEO approximately $190,000 in illegal kickback payments.
In addition to the kickback payment scheme, Ahalt also regularly caused Mobile Auto to submit false invoices to VRT for parts and labor associated with maintaining VRT vehicles. Ahalt, for example, frequently added fictitious entries to invoices for repairs that had not occurred and for parts that had not been installed. Mobile Auto submitted at least $136,000 in false invoices to VRT between 2012 and 2015. VRT subsequently paid these false invoices using, in part, Federal funds from DOT.
DOT-OIG is conducting this investigation with the FBI.