A Chugiak man is accused of using fraud to plunder family Permanent Fund dividend money from his wife and kids' college savings accounts, federal prosecutors announced Thursday. The charges also say he spent money illegally taken from his family on himself and on an exotic dancer in Las Vegas.
A federal grand jury indicted Wyatt Alan Whaley, 52, on charges of mail fraud, wire fraud and identity theft Oct. 20 in Anchorage.
Alaska parents spend their kids' dividend money -- a state payout qualified resident gets each year -- all the time. But in this case, Whaley lied and forged signatures to pry the money from bank accounts that belonged to his wife and children, the indictment says.
Whaley's scheme included "gifting significant sums" to a dancer he was having an affair with, the charges say.
He's accused of taking at least $36,300 from family accounts. That includes $12,300 from college savings accounts that his wife, Stephanie, created using a portion of her and the kids' dividends, according to the indictment.
Whaley took another $24,000 from separate savings accounts his wife set up with 1990s inheritance money for herself and the kids, the indictment says.
LIST OF ACCUSATIONS
The indictment accuses Whaley of:
• Pretending to be his wife using her Social Security number, date of birth and name in order to gain access nearly all the money in his wife and children's Permanent Fund Dividend-fed college savings accounts.
• Forging his wife's and kids' signatures on checks from the accounts.
• Linking an E*Trade account that he controlled to credit union savings accounts that belonged solely to his wife and children as a way to get to the money.
• Ultimately giving the money from his family's savings accounts to himself and his "paramour" -- including using the money to pay for a credit card he and his girlfriend used.
MARRIAGE ON THE ROCKS
Wyatt "Al" Whaley and Stephanie Whaley were married in 1984, the indictment says. The couple filed for divorce last September.
Stephanie Whaley couldn't be reached for comment Thursday afternoon. Wyatt Whaley's attorney didn't return an e-mail or phone message late in the day.
Whaley has held multiple commercial fishing permits over the past decade and is listed as the owner of a company called "The Alaska Seafood Network," according to Alaska public records.
The Alaska Financial Crimes Task Force, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and FBI investigated the case.
Whaley faces three mail fraud counts, three wire fraud counts and one count of aggravated identity theft -- meaning he's accused of stealing his wife's identity in the process of committing another felony, according to the Justice Department.
If convicted, he may go to prison and be ordered to pay restitution, prosecutors say.
Reporter Kyle Hopkins can be reached at email@example.com or at 257-4334.