Alaskan Bush People patriarch Billy Brown has been charged with 24 counts of unsworn falsification and theft. Authorities charge that he lied about his family’s Alaskan residency on official government applications and, as a result, received thousands of dollars in unearned paychecks. Other members of the family have also been charged with a total of 36 counts of the same crime. Radar Online reports that the unearned income for the family totals $27,000.
The charges state that the Browns lived in the lower 48 states for much of the four years they claimed to have lived in Alaska. Billy alone received $5,124 in October 2010, $3,522 in October 2011, $2,634 in 2012, and $1,800 in October 2013. Four of his sons are charged with receiving $13,873 over the same time period under their alleged misrepresentation of themselves as Alaska citizens.
NBC affiliate KTUU quoted the family patriarch as saying in a signed statement to the court,
“I left Alaska in October 2009 and did not return unitl (sic) August 2012. Contrary to what was stated on several Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) applications, I did not have a ‘principal’ place of abode’ (sic) on Mossman Island during the years 2009-13.”
Alaskan Bush People tells the story of the nine members of the Brown family living a self-sufficient life in the wilderness of Alaska, with minimal interaction with the modern world. Billy Brown was orphaned at the age of 16 when his parents and sisters died.
Back in November, Billy and son Joshua thought they had struck a deal regarding their sentence according to TMZ. In that deal, they would serve two years of probation, pay back the money, and serve 40 hours of community service. Yesterday, the judge spoke out against that deal, saying he believes they should do jail time.
This is not the first time the Alaskan Bush People family has had a brush with the law. Back in 2013, Matt was arrested for DUI and leaving the scene of an accident after a night of partying in Juneau.
In other Brown family drama, TV Ruckus reported in November that Alaskan Bush People‘s Billy Brown has been having seizures since a medical procedure he had in 2006. He was in a coma at that time and his seizures began following that coma. These seizures have reportedly become more frequent lately. A video posted to the Discovery website depicts the family reacting to “one of his episodes,” which is assumed to be a seizure. In the video, the Brown sons are on the family’s boat, the Integrity, when they get a call from Noah advising them of the episode. Billy wants them all to meet at home so he can share what the doctor told him about his seizures, but in a video shared to the Alaskan Bush People Facebook page, they return home to find it’s been invaded by a bear, so the news is temporarily postponed.
In the last episode of the season, Billy shared that his medical condition requires treatment that may require him to leave their Alaskan home. Of course this is a difficult decision for a man who has dedicated his life to living in the wild and has always taken great pride in being self-sufficient. Viewers have questioned the reality of some of the show, as viewers do with most reality shows. The legal problems of the Alaskan Bush People family cast more doubt in the minds of many, but anyone would feel for them as they deal with father Billy’s medical issues. And one wonders if the stress of the legal problems have contributed to the increased frequency of the seizures.
Whatever your opinion about Alaskan Bush People‘s Brown family, the season closing episode was emotional. The members of this family have some big issues to deal with in coming months. Billy and Joshua are scheduled to appear in court on their unsworn falsification and theft charges on January 11.
[Photo courtesy of Discovery Channel]