A Virginia couple and an airman stationed in Anchorage, Alaska have been indicted by federal prosecutors in a bribery scheme. The couple paid the Air Force airman hundreds of thousands of dollars in exchange for confidential information that allowed them to win more than eight million dollars worth of military construction contracts in Alaska, according to a federal indictment that prosecutors released on Tuesday.
The three people have been indicted on conspiracy, bribery, and money-laundering charges according to the indictment.
Ryan Dalbec, 42, and Raihana Nadem (also known as Dalbec), 27, owned the North Dakota-based Best Choice Construction, a federal government contractor that provided construction and other services. Through Best Choice, the Dalbecs bid on and were awarded multiple U.S. military construction contracts throughout Alaska.
Brian Nash, 30, an enlisted E-4 Senior Airman Contract Specialist assigned to the 673rd Contract Squadron at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER) in Anchorage, provided the information to the couple. His position as a Contract Specialist allowed him access to confidential information about competitive bids and government cost estimates for military contracts, according to the indictment.
From March through November 2019, according to the indictment, Ryan and Raihana Dalbec allegedly paid and promised Nash over $460,000 in bribes as a percentage of the total amount of contracts that the Dalbecs had won using the insider information Nash had provided.
In exchange, Nash allegedly supplied the Dalbecs with confidential, non-public bidding information that helped Best Choice win numerous Alaska military contracts, including a construction contract related to the F-35 aircraft program at Eielson Air Force Base and contracts to perform construction and related services at JBER.
The indictment also alleges that the defendants committed multiple overt acts in furtherance of the bribery conspiracy. Additionally, between March and October 2019, the Dalbecs and Nash are alleged to have laundered payments and proceeds from the bribery scheme to conceal their unlawful activities.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) conducted an investigation leading to the indictment. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan D. Tansey.
In one instance, the indictment said Nash told the Dalbecs to submit a $7.1 million bid for work on the Eielson F-35 Building in Fairbanks.
Nash was paid for this insider information by the couple wiring and transferring money to him through family members’ bank accounts, the indictment said.
If they are convicted in a federal court, each defendant faces up to 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine for the most serious charges. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendants.
Nash (pictured center) was the Air Force’s Arctic Warrior of the Week at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in December 2017, for purchases saving the Air Force $17,000.