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Roland Maw, fourth from the right in tie, with Gov. Bill Walker and UCIDA after his first indictment

The state of Alaska is refusing to let go the former member of the Alaska Board of Fisheries accused of being an AKINO – Alaskan In Name Only.

Three times now, Roland Maw, the former executive director of the United Cook Inlet Drift Association (UCIDA), has been indicted by Juneau grand juries on charges of Permanent Fund Dividend fraud only to have the the first two indictments quashed by a Juneau Superior Court judge.

After the second such ruling from the bench in February, Maw looked to be free of the dozen felony charges that have haunted him for more than two years.

Juneau Superior Court Judge Louis Menendez, the son of a one-time California commercial fisherman, has clearly shown a dislike for the state’s PFD accusations, although Menendez has let stand misdemeanor charges that Maw lied about his residency to obtain state hunting and fishing licenses.

Alaska prosecutors, however, appear unfazed by the judge’s objections. They last week came back with yet another indictment – the third – against Maw, according to KTOO News in the capital city.

A hearing on the case is set for Monday.

Menendez dismissed the first indictment against Maw on the grounds the state presented improper hearsay evidence to the jury.

Maw’s attorney, Nicholas Polasky of Juneau, argued at the time that one of the big problems with the case was that the state couldn’t prove Maw was the man sitting at a computer keyboard making online reservations to travel out-of-state and purchase resident hunting and fishing licenses in Montana.

After the first indictment was quashed and a second issued, Polasky further argued the state had no evidence to show Maw was the one who actually completed his electronic PFD application and that the state failed to present enough evidence to show Maw wasn’t entitled to a PFD.

The judge tossed the second indictment for lack of evidence.

The state put together an exhaustive file on Maw’s travels out of state even though it appeared to have a very simple case against Maw in that he obtained resident hunting licenses in Montana. The law governing the permanent fund application specifically states that if someone obtains resident hunting or fishing licenses in another state they do not qualify for the dividend.

Maw has not revealed how much it has cost him to fight the case. But after the first indictment was dismissed, he told the Alaska Journal of Commerce the state had treated him unfairly and drained him financially.

Outwardly, the 74-year-old commercial halibut fisherman and former salmon fishermen appears to have weathered the situation well. He has remained a player in Alaska fishery politics as if nothing happened. But then commercial fishermen are used to hard knocks.

Maw was in attendance and working the crowd in Kenai when Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, held a hearing to consider amendments to Magnuson-Stevens last summer, and he was with a group of UCIDA officials huddling with Gov. Bill Walker last October before the second indictment was quashed.

Since Maw left UCIDA, the organization has operated without an executive director with Maw sometimes filling in as the group’s spokesman. Maw was the one last year explaining to the media what UCIDA wants from a federal court decision ordering the federal government to write a Fisheries Management Plan for federal waters in Cook Inlet.

The feds had long bowed to state management of salmon throughout the Inlet, but UCIDA sued to force federal intervention in waters outside the state’s three-mile jurisdiction. UCIDA contends it isn’t getting to catch the number of salmon drift netters deserve because the state doesn’t always manage for maximum sustained yeild.

UCIDA is of the belief it will get more fish under federal management. But the feds have struggled with what is a complex, mixed-stock fishery involved various species of salmon from dozens of rivers, and Maw complained to the Alaska Journal of Commerce in January 2017 that commercial fishermen are getting “a little cranky” about the process.

Since the PFD charges were first filed, Maw has seemed more concerned about his role in Inlet salmon management, a subject on which he considers himself an expert, than his legal problems. He has told friends he is confident he will eventually be vindicated.

Maw could not be reached for comment. The phone at his Dillion, Mont., home has been disconnected, and it appears he has put the house up for sale.

When Maw unexpectedly withdrew from the confirmation process for Fish Board membership after having already begun functioning as a member of the board in 2015, he told the Alaska Dispatch News he maintained a residence in Montana because his wife need to live there for health reasons.

No listed Alaska phone number could be found for Maw. An attempt to connect with him through his LinkedIn page, which reports him as “Semi Retired at Natural Resources Canada,” went unanswered. Maw spent his professional career as a professor at the University of  Lethbridge in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, just across the border from where he grew up in Montana.

He bought a commercial fishery limited entry permit to fish Cook Inlet in 1983, according to state records. Seven years later in 1990 he declared himself a resident of Kasilof, though as of the previous July the Lethbridge Herald described him as an “environmental science instructor at Lethbridge Community College.” 

In 1993, according to state records, Maw changed his status back to non-resident and gave his address as Lethbridge. He continued to list his status as a non-resident with the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission until 1998 when he again claimed residence at a post office box in Kasilof.

He would from then on claim residency.

In 2015, at the time of his surprise announcement that he was resigning from the Board of Fish, Maw told the Alaska Dispatch News that “I retired in 2001 and we moved here in June of that year or 2000, I can’t remember the exact year, but whenever that qualifying period was over” he started collecting PFDs.

Maw’s resignation came after the state of Alaska learned he might be claiming residency in the state of Montana as well as the state of Alaska. A Montana court eventually judged Maw guilty of claiming to be a resident of that state while also claimed to be a resident of Alaska.

(Editor’s note: The reporter on this story was working for the Alaska Dispatch News in 2015 and asked Alaska State Troopers to confirm that Maw had obtained a Montana resident hunting license. Maw resigned the next morning. The ADN covered up its knowledge of those events at the time for reasons that have never been explained.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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18 replies »

  1. Do you have a 2016 or 2017 count of licensed hunters in Alaska you’d share? Last statistic we found was in 2011: 105,000 out of a population of 739,795 — meaning 14.2 % of residents. The number of licensed hunters has declined across the U.S. to 5%.

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    • i don’t, but the state should. and you have to figure out family size to get an accurate number of what percent of residents hunt. you can’t really count infants or even older children who don’t need a license to hunt if they hunt.

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    • actually no, Steve; what i mean is that on the day Maw announced his surprise resignation, ADN knew the reason he had resigned and reported instead that Maw was resigning because of battles over Cook Inlet salmon.

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  2. The judge seems to forget that the test of whether a grand jury indicts is whether probable cause to believe a felony has been committed has been presented to the grand jury. A trial jury must then find that Maw committed the offenses beyond a reasonable doubt.
    So, what information did the judge have? The real Roland Maw obtains Montana resident licenses and is convicted of violating Montana criminal law for getting them without being a Montana resident and at the same time claiming in Alaska he is a resident there. Then a person claiming to be Maw applies for multiple PFDs, the State pays them into the real Maw bank account, the money is spent from that account, and the real Maw has all the time been receiving the benefits of receiving resident licenses in Montana. Alaska PFD Law is quite clear and says you are not eligible for a PFD if you have received the benefit of residency in another state during the year that you are applying for the PFD In spite of all this evidence and Alaska law, the judge says that is not enough to show “probable cause”.
    Who ever applies electronically for the PFD must provide specific information that arguably and highly likely that only that person would know. It is very detailed. Then if approved the money is paid. Maw got the money, spent it and now claims there is no proof that he was the person who applied. Let the jury sort that out. Probably good that the judge retires. The law abiding residents of Alaska would remember his inability to apply the law next election.

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    • The real question is how can Maw be charged over and over for the same crime?…I was taught the “Double Jeopardy” clause of our 5th Ammendment prevents these debacles from occurring?
      Even O.J. Simpson only had to sit through one “criminal” trial.

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      • The judge is throwing out the indictments, for various reasons, but Maw is not been found not guilty and then being re-charged. The prosecutor is just given another chance to indict Maw.

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      • Steve: Double Jeopardy generally only occurs after a trial is under way that results in a not guilty verdict. So far there has not been a trial. Only a presentation to a grand jury, a screening provision required by the constitution. It’s sole purpose is to determine if probable cause exist to warrant the case going to a jury trial.

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      • Ok,
        Thanks for your thoughts.
        The exact wording in the 5th ammendment reads:
        “nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy…”
        Although the modern understanding is of a “case” running its course through a “trial”, it appears our founders were a bit more ambiguous with intent.
        I will be curious how Maw’s attorney sees the third attempt at indictment?
        I also wonder about other cases of similar failed indictments and attempts at criminal charges…What is precedent in these situations?

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      • I am all for prosecuting Maw, although on a third indictment attempt…the prosecution must show some new evidence or testimony that is different from past indictments or it will be a fairly easy defense for Maw’s attorneys.
        All in all, the state prosecutors will feel better when Maw’s “coffers” are drained from legal fees…”economic retribution”

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      • This is the third indictment (successful indictment) but for various reasons the Juneau judge has felt that the prosecutor has not shown evidence that it was indeed Maw that sat at his computer and filled out, signed, and witnessed, etc. to take it to a jury. No defense has as yet been presented and, as mentioned by Craig, Maw must have been somewhat overwhelmed at his good luck when all that money poured in (without his doing a thing).
        My own feelings are that it must have been the result of a monkey sitting at a computer and tossing out gibberish until the magical application appeared and all of Maw’s private information was randomly produced as well as the bank account where Maw get’s all his monkey-produced income. I’m still a bit unsure as to how the Maw signature was produced, along with his witnesses, but if one can believe the rest of the horseshit then it wouldn’t be much more of a stretch to come up with these IMO.
        One would think the prosecutor would be on notice to make sure all the particulars are followed with this judge, but who knows? For whatever reason this judge is not wanting this case to get to a jury but I’m sure tired of the waiting. The fact that a jail sentence is a most likely penalty, makes it pretty serious IMO.

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  3. 100% Agreed in principle. Although he is correct you can’t convict without proof he filed himself. Silly defense but true . Especially if he had a hacker that was an enemy. Hacker could steal a million from a bank put it his enemy’s bank account blow the whistle get the innocent man sent to prison. So it’s a good thing that this crooks silly defense held up . Shows we can at times trust the courts . I still hope they send him to jail for scamming the system.

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    • I don’t know about you, but my experience is that you need to either sign your application electronically or send in a signed signature page. I also suspect that Maw had the money deposited into his bank account and no doubt has already spent the money.
      If some monkey sitting at a computer actually had all of Maw’s information correct for say five years, there is not a jury anywhere that doesn’t convict Maw and leave the monkey alone.
      If Maw can show that the money went to someone other than himself we’ll all support him. I won’t be holding my breath waiting for this to happen.

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    • Isn’t that the Dallas Seavey defense? I didn’t do it; somebody sabotaged me.
      I think the state better start investigating all Kenai sportfishermen. Any of them could have sabotaged Roland. And the state clearly need to put surveillance cameras around Roland’s computer so people can’t sneak online and file for PFDs and residence licenses and who knows what others things.
      I’m starting to feel sorry for Roland. He must have felt like the luckiest man in the world when PFD checks and Montana hunting tags started showing up in his mailbox unsolicited.
      And now this….
      But wait.
      Roland confessed to former Alaska Dispatch News reporter Pat Forgey that PFDs were filed starting in 2000 or 2001. The state should track Forgey down as a witness ’cause either Forgey made something up or Roland told someone that he was indeed sending in those PFD forms.

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  4. I, for one, am happy the State is pushing this trial to show these yahoos that PFDs are not to be toyed with. We have gone to huge lengths to allow for travel outside and still collect but draw the line at filing for resident licenses in other states.
    Maw’s defense of suggesting someone other than himself did his filing is beyond ridiculous IMO.
    Lock him up! Heheh!

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