A federal judge in Missouri sentenced Patrick Dingle, a former construction operations manager for Zieson Construction Co., to eight years in prison without parole for false tax returns and his role in a fraud scheme that won Zieson $335 million in government contracts for which it was not eligible. The judge also ordered Dingle to forfeit $5.4 million representing his share of the profit and restitution.

He is due to begin serving his sentence on Nov. 7, likely at FCI Schuylkill in Minersville, Pa.

Prosecutors say Dingle, along with Matthew McPherson, then president of Topeka, Kan.-based McPherson Contractors, used a “rent-a-vet” and “rent-a-minority” scheme to win the North Kansas City, Mo.-based Zieson nearly 200 federal government contracts between 2009 and 2018, through programs designed to assist small businesses owned and controlled by service-disabled veterans and minorities, despite being neither. 

Zieson was formed with Stephon Ziegler as the nominal owner in 2009. Ziegler is an African American service-disabled veteran, but he did not control day-to-day operations or long term decision-making for the company, prosecutors say. Instead, Dingle and McPherson controlled the company and received most of the profits, while Ziegler just signed and delivered checks and bids for government jobs.

“This defendant pocketed millions of dollars in profits that should have gone to firms led by disabled veterans and minority owners,” U.S. Attorney Teresa Moore said in a statement.

Dingle pleaded guilty in September 2021 to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and major program fraud. In a separate case, he pleaded guilty to filing a false tax return after prosecutors say he inflated expenses for a business he formed named Mets LLC.

Western Missouri U.S. District Court Judge Roseann Ketchmark in Kansas City, Mo., sentenced Dingle Sept. 22. His jail term includes five years in the fraud case, to be served consecutively with a three-year term in the tax case. Prosecutors had recommended the sentences be served concurrently. Dingle’s attorneys did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In January, McPherson was sentenced to two years and four months in prison, and ordered to forfeit $5.5 million. In court records, prosecutors had sought a lesser sentence for McPherson than for Dingle, saying he cooperated in the investigation and prosecution of others. Ziegler was sentenced in May to one year in prison.