Crime & Courts

Woman sentenced for embezzling $300,000 from Skagway tribe

A former Skagway tribal employee was sentenced Monday for embezzlement after she pleaded guilty to using a tribal credit card to make almost $300,000 in personal purchases, the U.S. attorney's office said in a release.

Delia Commander, 64, who lives in Oregon, was ordered to serve 18 months in prison, along with three years of supervised release. She was also ordered to pay $297,731 in restitution, the release said.

Between 2010 and 2014, while Commander was a tribal administrator for the Skagway Traditional Council, she used the tribe's credit card to make unauthorized cash advances at casinos, pay for a trip to Hawaii for herself and a family member, buy online university courses and pay for other personal bills like vehicle maintenance and shopping, the release said.

"Over time, the Tribal Council became suspicious of Commander because of her frequent travel and lack of financial documents provided to council members," the release said.

Commander resigned abruptly in 2014 and afterward, her employer discovered the missing funds, the release said.

"Judge (Sharon) Gleason noted that such a large amount to be embezzled from such a small organization was an aggravating factor," the release said.

Julia O'Malley

Anchorage-based Julia O'Malley is a former ADN reporter, columnist and editor. She received a James Beard national food writing award in 2018, and a collection of her work, "The Whale and the Cupcake: Stories of Subsistence, Longing, and Community in Alaska," was published in 2019. She's currently writer in residence at the Anchorage Museum.