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ANCHORAGE, ALASKA-This week, a Federal Grand Jury handed down a four-count indictment against another Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission official. The charges handed down against Maggie Ahmaogak, 61 of Barrow, are wire fraud, money laundering, and two counts of theft and misapplication of funds from an organization that receives federal funds.
Maggie Ahmaogak is the wife of the five term North Slope Borough Mayor, George Ahmaogak Sr, who is up for re-election on October 4th of this year.
On his online site, George Ahmaogak stated:
Today, my wife, Maggie, was handed an indictment by a federal grand jury, accusing her of theft from the AEWC– these accusations are baseless.
My wife has been cooperating with federal investigators for more than nine-months, and we cannot believe her cooperation has ended with a sudden indictment twelve days prior to the election. My wife will be entering a not-guilty plea.”
According to the indictment, Maggie Ahmaogak is accused of using Whaling Commission funds on gambling trips to Vegas, New Orleans and Washington state with a family member, making a down payment on a Hummer and purchasing three snow machines. The indictment specifies one trip to New Orleans, where allegedly, Ahmaogak wired herself $12,300 and got a cash advance of $4,00o in 2007.
Federal prosecutors have said that Ahmaogak wrongfully took up to a fifth of the $2.3 million, or well over $400,000, received from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, North Slope Borough and the Oak Foundation during her employment as the head of the Whaling Commission from 2004 to 2007, when she was fired.
The problems of finances did not come to light until after Teresa Judkins, the person hired to take Ahmaogak’s place, was fired in 2008. Judkins was indicted in June for stealing more than $100,000 from the commission during her employment there.
NOAA wasn’t aware of the problem because no audits were done during the period from 2003 to 2007. NOAA did not respond to questions concerning the lack of audits for that period.
Maggie Ahmaogak faces 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count if convicted.