Crime & Courts

Former Anchorage police officer found guilty in ConocoPhillips embezzlement

A federal jury on Thursday found a former Anchorage police officer guilty of embezzling more than $3 million from ConocoPhillips in 2019.

The U.S. District Court jury in Anchorage deliberated for about a day before convicting 44-year-old Nathan Keays on 24 charges, including money laundering, wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Keays conspired with former ConocoPhillips employee Forrest Wright, who has since pleaded guilty to 34 federal charges and testified during Keays’ trial. The trial spanned nearly three weeks.

Wright’s position as a senior drilling and wells planner allowed him to negotiate and execute contracts for supplies and labor at ConocoPhillips, he told jurors during the trial.

Keays was a K-9 officer at the Anchorage Police Department, where he worked for about 15 years, according to his attorney’s opening statement during the trial. He was placed on leave in December 2019 after the federal allegations came to light and he eventually lost his job.

Keays also owned a business focused on home winterization, prosecutors said during the trial. They shared a series of emails that they said showed Wright and Keays collaborating to revamp Keays’ business website so he appeared to specialize in the oil and gas industry. Wright sent Keays scripted messages to send to his ConocoPhillips email address so they could obtain contracts for materials and labor.

Keays did not have any employees, the work he was paid to do was never completed and the supplies he said he purchased did not exist, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Heyman said during his closing statement Wednesday.


The men split the money and Keays sent half of it to a shell company Wright owned, Heyman told the jury.

Phillip Weidner, Keays’ attorney, argued that Keays was duped by Wright. He said Keays believed he was subcontracting the work to Wright’s company and was shocked when he learned that none of the work had been done or the materials delivered.

Wright embezzled more than $4 million from ConocoPhillips in a separate scheme, in which he used a business in his father-in-law’s name to similarly acquire contracts and payments for materials that never existed.

Wright underwent treatment for alcohol and drug addiction in 2018, but he relapsed by March of 2019, when he began embezzling the money from his employer, Wright said during trial testimony.

Keays did not testify during the trial.

He is scheduled for sentencing in August. He was allowed to remain out of custody on previously set conditions of release, prosecutors said.

Wright is scheduled to be sentenced in May.

Tess Williams

Tess Williams is a reporter focusing on breaking news and public safety. Before joining the ADN in 2019, she was a reporter for the Grand Forks Herald in North Dakota. Contact her at