Anchorage woman pleads guilty to embezzling $175K of tribal nonprofit funds

Gavel on sounding block
Gavel on sounding block(Source: Gray News)
Updated: Jun. 15, 2021 at 1:10 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A 44-year-old Anchorage woman pleaded guilty to the embezzlement of almost $175,000 from a federally funded Alaska tribal nonprofit.

The state attorney’s office issued a press release Tuesday stating that Joni Bryant embezzled money from the Alaska Native Harbor Seal Commission from July 2014 to October 2016. Bryant served as the nonprofit’s executive director during that timeframe, managing federal grants as well as making daily financial decisions, according to court records.

The nonprofit is funded by federal grants from the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The grants were meant to support tribal nonprofits in collecting harbor seal and Steller sea lion harvest data and bio-sampling of Alaska marine mammals.

Bryant had been accused of using the nonprofit’s checking account and credit cards to make unauthorized purchases and cash withdrawals for herself, according to the release. Of the approximately $175,000 embezzled, the release said Bryant spent it on personal and family travel, purchases at retail stores, gas, groceries, wireless services, personal insurance and utility bills.

By pleading guilty, Bryant agreed upon paying $174,290 in restitution to the NOAA. Bryant will be sentenced by a judge on Sept. 17, where she could face the maximum penalty of five years in prison, up to $250,000 in fines and three years of supervised release.

The ANHSC remains operational since

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