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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Alaska

Friday, March 8, 2013

Bethel Man pleads guilty and is sentenced for illegally using imitation of official seal of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Anchorage, Alaska - U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced today that a Bethel man pled guilty and was sentenced in federal court in Anchorage for illegally making and printing an imitation official insignia of the United States Fish & Wildlife Service. 

On March 8, 2013, John Jens Owens, 50, of Bethel, Alaska, was sentenced by United States Magistrate Court Judge Deborah Smith.  The court ordered Owens to pay a fine of $500, was placed on one year probation, and was ordered to make and print an announcement in the Delta Discovery and Tundra Drums acknowledging his wrongdoing.

Owens’ plea agreement included the facts he admitted to in support of the charges:  In May 2010, Owens read an article in the Delta Discovery paper written by a Fish & Wildlife Service refuge officer for the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge.  The next day, Owens copied the official seal of the Department of the Interior United States Fish & Wildlife Service from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service website.  After Owens made the imitation of the official seal, he affixed it, without permission, as letterhead to a letter he drafted. 

Owens drafted the letter in order to make it appear that it was written by and came from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement in the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge.  Owens disseminated false information in the letter.  None of the representations in the letter originated or were approved by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.  Owens then printed the false letter and mailed it to numerous villages in and around the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge.  Owens printed and mailed this fraudulent letter, on official-looking letterhead, in order to get people angry at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge Management personnel were pleased to see resolution to this case, and said they make it a priority to maintain the integrity of information delivered to the public, including information regarding waterfowl management regulations.

Ms. Loeffler commended the United States Fish & Wildlife Service for the investigation that led to the successful prosecution of Owens.

Updated January 29, 2015