Alaskan Bush People stars Billy and Joshua “Bam Bam” Brown were sentenced to 30 days in jail, a sentence that is set to begin soon. The sentence was handed down in January and is part of Juneau Superior Court Judge Philip Pallenberg’s larger sentence that includes thousands of dollars in fines. After appearing in court on charges multiple times, the members of the Alaskan Bush People family pled guilty to lying on Permanent Fund dividend applications, according to Alaska Dispatch News.
The official charge of which the Alaskan Bush People stars were found guilty is second-degree unsworn falsification, a misdemeanor. Billy and Josh were each found guilty of one count. Their guilt in this case has drawn a spotlight to the Alaskan Bush People family because it punches holes in the basis of their reality show.
Alaskan Bush People’s Billy and Josh Brown applied for Permanent Fund dividends, as all Alaska citizens are able to do. Any citizen who has lived in Alaska for a full calendar year that is. And it turns out that some of the Alaskan Bush People did not live in Alaska for a large portion of the years for which they applied for dividends.
In addition to the jail time, Alaskan Bush People family members must also pay back the wrongfully received dividends along with some fines. Billy Brown’s dividend repayment is approximately $8,000, whereas Josh’s is almost $1200. The Alaskan Bush People family members must also pay a combined $12,000 in fines — $10,000 for Billy and $2,000 for Josh. They must also perform 40 hours of community service, which cannot be filmed for inclusion on Alaskan Bush People, and have to serve their 30-day sentence, which is set to begin on April 15.
Billy and Joshua Brown are not the only Alaskan Bush People family members who were charged with falsifying applications for Permanent Fund dividends. Alaskan Bush People matriarch Ami Brown and four of their seven children were also charged. In all, the Brown family received 60 charges of falsifying their applications. In exchange for guilty pleas from the father and son, charges against the rest of the Alaskan Bush People family members were dropped.
The period in which the Alaskan Bush People falsely reported their time spent living in Alaska spans from 2010 to 2013. Evidence shows that they lived in Texas for much of 2010. In 2012, Alaskan Bush People father Billy Brown and three of his sons were in Denver. They flew from Denver to Anchorage, Alaska, at one point and returned to Denver two weeks later.
The investigation into the Alaskan Bush People stars found that most of the Browns’ 2011 applications were filed electronically from Texas, except for Michael Brown, whose application was filed from California. In 2012 and 2013, most of the applications were filed from Arkansas.
Members of the Alaskan Bush People family called into court to face charges. Billy’s attorney argued against jail time as part of his sentence because of chronic health problems from which the 63-year-old suffers. The judge refused this request, however, indicating that many of those incarcerated have equally severe health issues and that the medical staff at the jail is equipped to tend to his health problems.
Alaskan Bush People airs on the Discovery Channel. Neither the show nor the network have commented on the case. They have, however, confirmed that the show will return but have not indicated on what date that will happen. Also unknown at this time is where the show will be filmed. In order to receive treatment for his medical condition, Alaskan Bush People father Billy must go to Seattle for treatment. He and the rest of the Alaskan Bush People family have vowed that they will return to their home in Alaska.
[Image via Discovery Channel]