SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


State Employee Charged With Theft and Embezzlement of $724,000


March 19, 2010

(SitNews) - The Alaska Bureau of Investigation (AST) Technical Crime Unit received a report On March 15, 2010, that Chona Agtarap, a Regional Case Reviewer working for the State of Alaska Health and Social Services, Division of Public Assistance, appeared to have stolen approximately $724,000 over the past 5 years from the state. The following day, AST investigators traveled to Juneau to interview several state employees, as well as obtain state computer logs for suspected transactions.

Investigation revealed that Agtarap issued new state treasury warrants to herself under a slightly different name. These checks were then mailed to a P.O. Box in Kodiak and subsequently deposited into several accounts owned by Agtarap at two local banks. It was discovered that she lived in Anchorage during the week and traveled to Kodiak on the weekend where she lived. Investigators obtained search warrants authorizing the freezing of all assets from all known bank accounts related to this investigation. Investigators also obtained a search warrant for her Kodiak residence. Kodiak Troopers served the search warrant at the Kodiak residence, which resulted in locating many pieces of evidence. Agtarap was contacted at her state office, which is located in the Frontier building in Anchorage. Search warrants were also served at Agtarap's state office and Anchorage apartment.

On March 18, 2010, a search warrant was obtained authorizing the seizure of property in Kodiak purchased with state money. This included a 2010 Nissan Armada, a 2008 Nissan Pathfinder, three four wheelers, a Glastron boat, firearms, home electronics and furniture, and other home items. Agtarap's bail was set at $50,000. The office of Special Prosecutions and Appeals (OSPA) is prosecuting the case.

In a prepared statement DHSS Commissioner William Hogan said the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) is greatly saddened and shocked by the allegations of misconduct by an employee of the Division of Public Assistance (DPA).

"I want to assure the people of Alaska that this incident is not representative of the honest, hard work that our 3,600 department employees do every day for Alaskans in need," DHSS Commissioner William Hogan said.

The Department has been and continues cooperating fully with law enforcement, and is unable to comment further at this time said Hogan.


Sources of News:

Alaska Department of Health & Social Services

Alaska Department of Public Safety


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