SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Former Cooper Landing Fishing Guide
Charged with Stealing from Clients


December 17, 2011
Saturday AM

(SitNews) Kenai, Alaska - A former Cooper Landing fishing guide was charged last week with stealing from nearly 70 clients by failing to provide trips booked with his guiding business in 2010 and 2011. The investigation began after the Alaska Wildlife Troopers' Wildlife Investigations Unit received a complaint on Sept. 6, 2010 regarding 35-year-old Thomas W. Murray. Murray, the owner of Wise Guide Outfitters of Cooper Landing, was alleged to have failed to provide "all inclusive" fishing vacations that included transportation to and from Anchorage and Cooper Landing, five full days of guided fishing trips, all meals, six nights lodging as well as camp fires and sightseeing tours.

The Wildlife Investigations Unit, with assistance from the Alaska Department of Revenue's Criminal Investigations Unit and the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, opened an investigation into Murray and Wise Guide Outfitters.

The investigation revealed that Murray, a current resident of Cedar Hills, Utah, sold the "all inclusive" fishing vacations on eBay for the 2010 and 2011 sport fishing season, but then failed to provide for some or all of these vacation packages. Between 2010 and 2011, Murray sold trips to 29 parties with a total of nearly 70 clients who collectively paid more than $90,000 to Murray for trips that Murray failed to provide. The investigation also revealed Murray failed to pay local area businesses – to include lodges, a fishing charter operation as well as sport fishing guides – more than $27,000 for services that were rendered to Murray's 2010 clients.

On Dec. 8, 2011, Murray was charged in Kenai District Court with one count of scheme to defraud, four counts of theft in the second degree, one count of unsworn falsification in the first degree and one count of false information on a fishing license.

Scheme to defraud is a Class B felony which carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. Theft in the second degree is a Class C felony, which carries a sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000. Murray, as with all criminal defendants, is innocent until proven guilty.

Murray's first court appearance was an arraignment in Kenai District Court Friday.



Source of News: 

Alaska Department of Public Safety


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Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska

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