Crime & Courts

Former Alaska Fish Board appointee Roland Maw charged with PFD fraud

Gov. Bill Walker's controversial one-time appointee to the Alaska Board of Fisheries was charged Wednesday with 17 counts of theft and unsworn falsification over his applications for six years of Permanent Fund dividends and for commercial fishing permits.

Roland Maw is accused of illegally collecting $7,422 in dividends between 2009 and 2014. The charging documents show he did not disclose that he left Alaska for more than 90 days during each of the qualifying calendar years, a requirement.

Maw, 72, was charged in Juneau District Court in a document signed by Juneau District Attorney James Scott.

According to the charges, investigators using records from banks, airlines and border crossings found that each year between 2008 and 2014, Maw left Alaska for more than 100 days. At the most, he left for 180 days in 2012.

During that same span of seven years, Maw also bought resident hunting and fishing licenses in Montana. There, he pleaded no contest last year to seven counts of license violations, accused of seeking a Montana resident benefit while separately claiming Alaska as his home. A Montana judge fined him $7,245 and the court banned him from hunting, fishing and trapping in Montana for 18 months.

Under Alaska law, a person cannot get the dividend if he or she has a resident hunting or fishing license from another state during the qualifying year. If Maw had disclosed on his dividend application that he left Alaska for more than 90 days, he would have had to fill out another form that asked him about the out-of-state licenses.

When reached by phone Wednesday evening, Maw would not comment. He said it was the first time he was hearing about the charges.


Maw's recent charges also stem from resident fishing licenses that he obtained in Alaska. An investigator for the state wildlife troopers, who got tipped off by Montana officials, found that Maw claimed Alaska residency on commercial fishing permits that he obtained between 2008 and 2014, charges said.

"Each of these documents notified the person signing them that false statements were punishable," charges said.

Between 2008 and 2014, Maw also got about 50 resident Montana sport licenses, permits and tags. By obtaining resident sport fishing and hunting licenses in Montana, Maw did not qualify as a resident of Alaska, charges said.

In total, Maw was charged Wednesday with six felony counts of first-degree unsworn falsification, six felony counts of second-degree theft and five misdemeanor counts of second-degree unsworn falsification.

Maw was the executive director of United Cook Inlet Drift Association, a commercial fishing industry group. Walker appointed Maw to the Board of Fisheries last January, drawing opposition from the Legislature.

Maw withdrew his name from consideration in February as Montana officials opened a criminal investigation to see if he illegally held resident licenses in both Montana and Alaska.

Tegan Hanlon

Tegan Hanlon was a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News between 2013 and 2019. She now reports for Alaska Public Media.