Loretto Lee Jones, a former Assembly candidate, is on trial for PFD fraud. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Loretto Lee Jones, a former Assembly candidate, is on trial for PFD fraud. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Former Assembly candidate stands trial for PFD fraud

Jury selection began Wednesday morning

The trial of a former City and Borough of Juneau Assembly candidate began Wednesday with jury selection in the Juneau Superior Court.

Loretto Lee Jones, 65, is charged with felony theft for knowingly seeking to mislead a public servant by submitting a false PFD application, also a felony. The two charges stem from allegations that Jones filed for her PFD payout in 2016 — $1,022 — while having resided outside the state for more than 180 days.

Jury selection Wednesday morning paneled the jury with nine women and four men, after excusing several for reservations about the PFD process, personal issues with being in courtrooms, or prior opinion about Jones herself. Jones ran for an Assembly seat in 2017, leading nearly 10 jurors to be excused during the selection process.

“I don’t remember the specifics but there were some of her dealings with the city or individuals that were called into question,” said one potential juror, who was later excused. “That’s why I didn’t vote for her.”

[Former Assembly candidate facing felony charges]

During Jones’ run for Assembly, a judge ruled that Jones had violated the Landlord Tenant Act when she refused to return a security deposit to a former resident. This was the third time in the previous two years that former tenants had recovered damages from Jones, according to court records.

Near the outset of Jones’ campaign, the Juneau Police Department ended up at Jones’ house after eyewitnesses reported seeing Jones’ truck near houses with stolen campaign signs. No charges were filed.

Jesse Kiehl beat Jones for the District 1 seat in the 2017 municipal election, before he went on to win election for a seat in the Alaska state senate.

Lisa Kelley, assistant attorney general, represents the state as the prosecuting attorney in this case. Deborah Macaulay from the Public Defender Agency is acting as Jones’ defense attorney, and Judge Amy Mead is presiding.

“This case will involve a lot of documents,” Kelley said.

Opening statements from the prosecution and the defense will commence Thursday at 9 a.m. The trial is expected to last two days.

• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757-621-1197 or mlockett@juneauempire.com.

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