'Alaskan Bush People' stars to serve jail time for oil revenue fraud
UPI News Service, 01/12/2016
Two members of Discovery Channel's "Alaskan Bush People" reality series have been sentenced to 30 days in jail for lying about their Alaskan residency to get more money from oil company revenues given to all residents of the state.
Patriarch Billy Brown, 63, and one of his sons, Joshua "Bam Bam" Brown, 31, each pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of second-degree unsworn falsification after reporting false information in order to obtain revenue checks from Alaska's oil industry.
The two men were also sentenced to 40 hours of community service in addition to respective fines. Billy Brown must pay $7,956 back to the state as well as an added $10,000 fine; Joshua Brown is required to pay $1,174 back as well as a $2,000 fine.
The requirements are part of a plea deal freeing the rest of the Brown family -- including matriarch Amora "Ami" Brown and four of seven children -- from similar charges. The family members are still reportedly required to return the money received from the state.
Those involved in the criminal case had lied about how long they lived in Alaska in order to receive the state's dividend checks. "I accept full responsibility for filing for benefits without confirming that we met the requirements," Billy Brown said in a statement released to People.
"We are committed to living in Alaska for the long term and we respect the state's rules. I thought it best to settle to put this behind us."
Billy Brown and Joshua Brown are required to check into jail by April 15, 2016 and can never apply for the dividend again. Attorneys for Billy are reportedly arguing against jail time due to complicated medical issues involving his heart and liver.
According to the show, the Brown family is moving closer to civilization to be near medical help if needed.
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