Dawson gets 60 months in prison for stealing $6.2 million

Published 10:09 pm Monday, April 1, 2013

An Autauga County man that was accused of stealing more than $6.2 million in government funding, $799,000 from the West Dallas County Water Authority, was sentenced to 60 months in the United States Bureau of Prisons. 

According to the United States Attorney’s Office former USDA employee Ricky Nelson Dawson was found guilty of stealing more than $6.2 million from various water authorities in Alabama by writing fraudulent checks payable to the federal government. A restitution hearing is set for June 5.

Attorney for the West Dallas Water Authority, Prince Chestnut, said it was recommended by the Bureau of Prisons that Dawson be, “designated to a facility near as possible to Montgomery,” and that he “be designated to a facility where residential gambling treatment is available.”

In December of 2011, Dawson contacted the West Dallas Water Authority’s management company, Artesian Utilities, and stated that the authority had received more than $799,172.79 in error, Chestnut stated. Dawson told them he believed the federal stimulus money received by the authority was supposed to go to another authority.

“[Artesian Utilities] asked him to put this in writing and he did, writing to the effect that the money had been accidentally deposited into West Dallas’ account,” Chestnut said. “After receiving the letter, a check was made from the Authority made payable in the amount of $799, 172.79; and, [Artesian Utilities] made Dawson come to the office and sign that he received the check before tendering it.”

Dawson later made out a cashier’s check to West Dallas Water Authority for the same amount from an account named R. Development and deposited it an account that he allegedly used for illegal activities, Chestnut said.

Chestnut said the damage to the authority was much less than other water boards that Dawson stole from because those at Artesian Utilities kept meticulous documentation.