Alaska News

Stars of Alaska reality TV show charged with PFD fraud

A family starring in the reality television series "Alaskan Bush People" faces multiple felony charges tied to falsely submitting applications for the Alaska Permanent Fund dividend, according to documents filed in Superior Court.

The Browns -- Billy, Ami and their seven children -- are characterized in the Discovery Channel show as "a recently discovered family that was born and raised wild."

A Juneau grand jury charged six of the family members with a total of 60 counts of first-degree unsworn falsification and first- and second-degree theft, according to the documents filed Oct. 3.

Billy Brown, 61, faces 24 of those charges, linked to PFD applications submitted from 2010 to 2013 and for the theft of more than $13,000 in dividend money for himself and others, the documents say.

Others facing charges include 51-year-old Amora Brown, 30-year-old Joshua Brown, 27-year-old Solomon Brown, 24-year-old Gabriel Brown and 22-year-old Noah Brown.

Most Alaska residents receive a PFD if they have lived in the state for at least one year.

Scott Stair, investigations manager with the Alaska Department of Revenue, said Thursday that an out-of-state fraud tip prompted the Alaska Department of Revenue to investigate the Brown family.


Stair said that between October 2009 and August 2012, the family did not meet the "physical presence requirement" to receive PFDs. This means the state believes the family spent more than 180 days a year living outside of Alaska and lied about it on their applications, Stair said.

Sean Martin, director of communications at Discovery Channel, wrote in an email Thursday that "we don't divulge our actual shoot dates, so cannot let you know when filming concluded on season one, but can confirm that we are currently filming new episodes, but have not announced those air dates yet."

"Alaskan Bush People" premiered May 6 and the season one finale aired May 27, Martin said.

The family members are scheduled to appear in court Nov. 4.

Update: This story was updated on Oct. 23, 2014, to add comment from the Department of Revenue and Discovery Channel.

Tegan Hanlon

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