UPDATE: Alaskan Bush People reality show stars deserve jail time judge says. Billy Brown and Bam Bam Brown might be behind bars soon.
— KTUU.com (@Ch2KTUU) November 20, 2015
Alaskan Bush People stars Billy Brown and his son, Bam Bam Brown, pleaded guilty to fraud charges on Wednesday. The father and son reality show stars admitted to filing falsified residency documents with the state in order to obtain money from the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend.
Billy Brown, 62, admitted that he claimed to be a permanent resident of Alaska on Permanent Fund applications from 2009 to 2012 when he was actually living out of state. The Alaska Bush People star was granted almost $8,000 from the state based upon the filing, Fox News reports.
— People magazine (@people) November 19, 2015
“By submitting falsified PFD applications for myself and my children, I stole $7,956 from the people of Alaska,” Brown wrote in a signed statement for a proposed plea deal, according to the Alaska Dispatch News.
Bam Bam Brown collected $1,174 from the PFD by also filing a falsified residency document.
— Alaska Dispatch News (@adndotcom) November 19, 2015
The Alaskan Bush People reality show stars on the Discovery Channel hit series were offered a plea deal in the case by the prosecuting attorney during a court proceeding on Thursday. Billy Brown and his family will be permitted to pay back the money accrued via the falsified PFD documents, do 40 hours of community service, and be on probation for two years, if the judge agrees to the deal.
The plea deal requires both Billy Brown and Bam Bam Brown admit to one count of unsworn falsification, a misdemeanor. The community service conducted cannot be filmed as part of the reality show series by order of the judge who oversaw the case.
“It’s a theft from everybody, every resident of the state of Alaska,” Juneau Superior Court Judge Philip Pallenberg said. “PFD fraud is a serious matter. In prior cases, prior cases that involved felony convictions, I think it’s an offense that deserves jail time. I think there’s a high level of community condemnation for it.”
— Discovery (@Discovery) November 11, 2015
If Billy Brown and his family accept the plea deal offered in the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend case, Amora Brown, Solomon Brown, Gabriel Brown, and Noah Brown will have to complete 20 hours each of community service, and each pay back $3,000 in dividends. All the fraud charges levied against the “Brown Town” family will be dropped if the terms of the plea bargain are completed.
“I left Alaska in October 2009 and did not return until August 2012,” Billy Brown wrote in a statement submitted to the court. “Contrary to what was stated on several Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) applications, I did not have a ‘principal place of abode’ on Mossman Island during the years 2009-13.”
The Brown family featured on the Alaskan Bush People reality show include: dad Bill, 62; mom Ami, 52; sons Matt, 33; Bam, 31; Bear, 28; Gabe, 25; and Noah, 23; and daughters Snowbird, 21; and Rain, 12. The family lives entirely off the grid in a remote area of southern Alaska. The cabin they built upon an island, which also includes an extremely high number of bears, is about a 20-minute boat ride from the small town of Hoonah, People magazine notes.
Alaskan Bush People first began airing on the Discovery Channel in May, 2014, and launched its third season on the air last week. The television network has not yet offered a comment about the legal troubles of Billy Brown and his family.
What do you think about the Alaskan Bush People fraud charges and the plea deal?
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