Roland Maw, a Kenai Peninsula commercial fishing advocate and the former executive director of the United Cook Inlet Drift Association, was charged with falsifying his Alaska residency on Wednesday.
Maw is facing up to 17 charges. Of those, 12 carry a class ‘C’ felony designation, for unsworn falsification and theft with value between $750 to $24,999, related to falsifying records to apply for the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend. A class ‘C’ felony is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.
The remaining five carry a class ‘A’ misdemeanor designation, which is punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $10,000. He is charged with misdemeanors for unsworn falsification, related to falsifying other forms, according to online court records.
The charges date back as early as 2008, with the most recent occurring in October 2014. Charges were filed in district court in Juneau.
The Montana Department of Fish and Wildlife opened an investigation into Maw’s residency in February 2015 after he was found to be holding resident licenses in Montana while still drawing the benefits of Alaska residency. The investigation was announced shortly after Maw withdrew his name from consideration for a seat on the Alaska Board of Fisheries.
Maw was charged with up to seven misdemeanors in Montana, carrying both fines and jail time.
Maw, who owns property near Dillon, Montana, was charged with seven counts of affirming to a false statement in order to obtain a resident hunting license.
The misdemeanor charges in Montana carried the possibility of fines up to $1,000, two to six months in county jail and the loss of all hunting and fishing privileges. Alaska is one of several states who participate in a share program regarding these bans, so Maw will also lose his Alaska fishing and hunting privileges. Maw pled no contest to the charges a few months later.
According to public records, Maw filed for an Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend check, or PFD, every year between 2002 and 2014. Over that span, the PFD has paid out $16,665.88.
Between 1996 and 2003, he purchased resident class fishing, hunting, or combination licenses from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
In 2003, he qualified for and purchased a Permanent Identification Card, which is issued to Alaska senior residents for free hunting, fishing, and trapping. The card is void if the holder receives any benefits from another state, including resident licenses, voting rights, or tax breaks.
Gov. Bill Walker named Maw to the Alaska Board of Fisheries on Jan. 20, replacing former Chairman Karl Johnstone, who resigned when Walker told him he wouldn’t reappointed following public and gubernatorial scrutiny of the board’s actions at the ADFG commissioner nominee selection meeting on Jan. 14.
At that meeting, Johnstone and his fellow board members declined to deem Maw qualified to interview for the job of Alaska Department of Fish and Game commissioner.
Maw unexpectedly withdrew his name from consideration for the Board of Fisheries on Feb. 20 following scrutiny from the media and Legislature, despite favorable public support and desirable credentials for Walker’s desired scientific fisheries management. The Montana investigation into Maw’s resident permits become public soon after.