Anchorage, Alaska – U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced today that a North Pole man has been charged in a 32 count Information alleging violations of the Lacey Act and other federal laws stemming from a 16 year span of submitting fraudulent Federal Subsistence Permit Applications and subsequent illegal hunting and transporting of wildlife in a Federal Subsistence Area located south of Delta Junction, Alaska.
According to the charging document, between 2002-2018, Robert John Albaugh, 58, and his wife applied for and received a combined 63 Federal Subsistence Hunt permits for Game Management Unit 13 and took 23 caribou and 1 moose pursuant to those permits by falsely claiming to be rural residents of Delta Junction, AK, in order to take unfair advantage of federal regulations that seek to support the long-standing subsistence traditions of rural Alaska.
In 1980, Congress passed the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA), which protects the subsistence needs of rural Alaskans. Subsistence is defined by federal law as “the customary and traditional uses by rural Alaska residents of wild, renewable resources for direct personal or family consumption as food, shelter, fuel, clothing, tools or transportation; for the making and selling of handicraft articles out of nonedible by-products of fish and wildlife resources taken for personal or family consumption; and for the customary trade, barter or sharing for personal or family consumption.”
The Federal Subsistence Management Program is a multi-agency effort to provide the opportunity for a subsistence way of life by rural Alaskans on Federal public lands and waters while maintaining healthy populations of fish and wildlife. Subsistence fishing and hunting provide a large share of the food consumed in rural Alaska. Nowhere else in the United States is there such a heavy reliance upon wild foods. This dependence on wild resources is cultural, social and economic. Alaska’s indigenous inhabitants have relied upon the traditional harvest of wild foods for thousands of years and have passed this way of life, its culture, and values down through generations. Subsistence has also become important to many non-Native Alaskans, particularly in rural Alaska.
Robert Albaugh is currently awaiting his first court appearance on the charges. If convicted, Albaugh faces up to one year in federal prison and a $100,000 fine on each count. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
The Bureau of Land Management Office of Law Enforcement and Security conducted the investigation following a separate investigation of the Albaughs by the Alaska Wildlife Troopers for Taking of Wildlife Closed Season. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan D. Tansey for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Alaska.
These charges are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.