Anchorage Husband and Wife Sentenced for Drug Trafficking and Wire Fraud Convictions
Anchorage, Alaska – Acting U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced today that on Thursday, March 30, 2017, Arnold Wesley Flowers, II, 42, of Anchorage, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Sharon L. Gleason to serve 75 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for his convictions for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, being a felon in possession of firearms, and 12 counts of wire fraud.
Today, March 31, 2017, Flowers' wife, Miranda May Flowers, 32, of Anchorage, was also sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Sharon L. Gleason to serve 20 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for her convictions on 12 counts of wire fraud. Judge Gleason also imposed a condition of 120 hours of community work service as a condition of Mrs. Flowers’ supervised release.
On Dec. 13, 2016, a jury in U.S. District Court in Anchorage found Mr. and Mrs. Flowers guilty on 12 counts of wire fraud. The evidence established that on the night of Jan. 17, 2016, the Flowers moved several items from their home into a storage unit located at Best Storage on Tudor Road in Anchorage. These items included several big screen television sets, jewelry, designer clothing, shoes, handbags, and sunglasses, as well as video games, computers, and other electronics. On January 19, the Flowers staged a burglary at their home on Larkspur Circle and claimed the above items had been stolen in the staged burglary of their home. The Flowers held a renter's insurance policy with State Farm Insurance. On January 25, the Flowers contacted State Farm Insurance and made a formal claim for reimbursement of the replacement cost of the items they falsely claimed had been stolen on January 19.
The Flowers valued the falsely stolen or damaged property at over $101,000. Flowers communicated this claim for loss to State Farm Insurance through multiple telephone calls and emails that originated in Alaska and were sent to claim investigators located at State Farm Insurance offices located in the Lower 48 states and Hawaii.
In a separate federal jury trial that concluded in Anchorage on Oct. 19, 2016, Mr. Flowers was found guilty of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and for being a felon in possession of firearms. The evidence established that during a search of Flowers’ residence on March 29, 2016, Anchorage Police found 2 ounces of cocaine packaged in plastic sandwich baggies clogging a toilet in the upstairs bathroom and 4 ounces of wet and similarly packaged cocaine hidden under the lining of a trash can in the same bathroom. When Anchorage Police entered the home, Mr. Flowers was upstairs in the area near the upstairs bathroom. the master bedroom that Flowers shared with his wife and located adjacent to the bathroom where the police found cocaine, Anchorage Police discovered two safes that held a combined $28,000 in cash. Each safe also held a loaded firearm. One of the safes had the distinct odor and smell of cocaine. the top drawer of a dresser inside the bedroom, the Anchorage Police found three boxes of sandwich baggies that were similar to the baggies used to package the cocaine.
The jury also heard evidence that when Flowers was interviewed on March 29, he had $1,275 in cash in the front pocket of his pants. Mr. Flowers maintained that the cash in his pocket and his safes was from the sale of high-end watches. However, during the search of the residence the Anchorage Police did not find any watch inventory or documents that would support that Flowers was actively engaged in the sale of watches.
At Mr. Flowers’ sentencing, Judge Gleason found that the drug trafficking offense was particularly serious, given that Mr. Flowers was not selling cocaine to feed or fuel his own habit, but was selling to others to profit himself; his sole motivation was greed. She also found that it was troubling that someone would destroy the family home to perpetuate a fraudulent insurance claim, while also depriving their family members of the hidden items for months on end. Judge Gleason made specific findings that Mr. Flowers provided false statements to the Anchorage Police, to State Farm Insurance, and to the jury when he testified. She also noted that his watch sale business was a fraud, and that there was no evidence that he ever sold any watches.
At Mrs. Flowers’ sentencing, Judge Gleason noted it was particularly troubling that Mrs. Flowers had engaged in an abuse of law enforcement resources by calling the Anchorage Police Department to report a false burglary, thus instituting a meritless investigation. While responding to Mrs. Flowers’ false call, those resources were unavailable to investigate actual crimes. Judge Gleason also commented that the destruction of the family home by the Flowers and the staging of the burglary were particularly egregious, given that several young children lived in the home. Judge Gleason commented, "this is not something any child should have to go through."
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kelly Cavanaugh and James Barkeley, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Erin Bennett prosecuted these cases for the United States.
Acting U.S. Attorney Schroder commends the Anchorage Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation Safe Streets Task Force, the State of Alaska Division of Insurance, and the Drug Enforcement Administration, for the successful investigation and prosecution of this case.