April 4, 2013 | Volume 43, No. 13

Residency claim leads to 28 charges

Alaska Wildlife Troopers leveled 28 charges against a 63-year-old local man this week for allegedly falsifying his residency to obtain hunting and fishing privileges.

The man, who according to court documents claims residency at 8.5 Mile Lutak Road, used the Lutak address to acquire an Alaska driver’s license and various hunting and fishing licenses, permits and tags between 2009 and 2012.

The man also claimed residency in Shelby County, Ind., to obtain a property tax reduction under a claim of homestead family residence. Wildlife trooper Ken VanSpronsen said he has been in contact with Indiana law enforcement, but doesn’t know if they will file separate charges.

VanSpronsen began investigating the man in December.

All 28 charges are misdemeanors, but some carry heavier maximum penalties than others. VanSpronsen said while the penalties range from a maximum of 90 days in jail and $1,000 in fines for lesser charges to a year in jail and $10,000 in fines for more grievous ones, these types of cases usually result in a lot of fines but minimal jail time, if any.

The falsification of residency documents to illegally obtain hunting and fishing privileges is a resource issue, in addition to being an economic one, he said.

By imposing a financial “penalty” for non-residents to come hunt and fish in Alaska though increased fees, the state is protecting resources for the use of residents. Residency laws help keep hunting and fishing pressure down on certain species, VanSpronsen said.

“If we allowed everybody the same access, (certain species would) be wiped out within a generation,” he said.

VanSpronsen said he is handling about a half-dozen similar residency cases right now, including some involving more charges than this one.