Seward Husband and Wife Indicted for Perjury and Commercial Fishing Violations
On March 29, 2013, a Kenai grand jury indicted 57-year-old James Hubbard of Seward on 7 felony counts, including 1 count of Perjury and 6 counts of Violating a Direct Market Business License. The grand jury also indicted 50-year-old Rhonda K. Anderson-Hubbard of Failing to Pay a Tax on a Fishery Resource. The indictment against Mr. Hubbard stems from his impermissible processing of fish for other fishermen under his Direct Marketer’s Business License. Commercial fishermen in Alaska that possess a direct marketing fisheries business license may directly export their own catch, process their own catch or have their catch custom processed. The goal of the direct marketing license is to promote the growth of independent processors and small business owners within Alaska’s commercial fishing industry. This goal is achieved through a reduced tax rate of 3% as opposed to the normal rate of 5%. Direct marketers, however, are prohibited from purchasing fishery resources for resale or processing for sale, or processing fishery resources for another licensed fisherman or fisheries business. The indictment is also based on alleged untruthful statements Mr. Hubbard made regarding his business practices on a notarized affidavit. Ms. Hubbard’s indictment stems from allegations relating to her impermissible purchase of fish and the subsequent non-payment of taxes associated with the purchase. The Hubbards’ impermissible business practices allegedly resulted in a loss of tax revenue to the State of Alaska in an amount in excess of $7,000.
The indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The Hubbards, as with all criminal defendants, are innocent until proven guilty.
Mr. Hubbard faces a sentence of up to ten years in prison and a fine up to $100,000 if convicted and Ms. Hubbard faces a sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine up to $50,000 if convicted. Sentencing is based on the judge’s view of the seriousness of the crime and the offender’s criminal history, if any.
The indictment stems from investigations by the Wildlife Investigations Unit, Alaska Wildlife Troopers, Department of Public Safety and from the Tax Division, Department of Revenue.
The Hubbards were arraigned on April 9, 2013 in Kenai Superior Court.
If you have any information regarding commercial fishing violations or other fishing or wildlife crimes, please contact the Alaska Wildlife Troopers and visit their webpage at: http://dps.alaska.gov/awt/default.aspx.