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Press Release

Former Executive And Finance Directors Of Alaska Tribal Organization Plead Guilty To Stealing Funds

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Alaska

Anchorage, Alaska - U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced today that the former Executive Director and the former Finance Director of the Alaska Inter-Tribal Council (AITC), a non-profit organization which advocates in support of tribal governments throughout Alaska, each plead guilty in federal court in Anchorage to felony charges related to their theft of funds belonging to the organization.  The former Executive Director of AITC, Steven D. Osborne, 44, of Fairbanks, and the former Finance Director, Thomas R. Purcell, 51, of Anchorage, each plead guilty to one count of theft of funds from an organization receiving federal funding.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph Bottini, the Alaska Inter-Tribal Council received substantial federal funding in 2008 and 2009 – including a federal grant from the United States Environmental Protection Agency in excess of one million dollars.  As officers of AITC, Osborne and Purcell each had access to AITC bank accounts, and Osborne additionally had credit and debit cards issued to him by the organization.  The investigation established that Osborne and Purcell were able to steal the funds through a number of different ways, including cash withdrawals, credit and debit card transactions, the submission of false time cards, and unauthorized salary increases.

Osborne and Purcell were each indicted by a federal grand jury in August 2013 for stealing AITC funds.  Under the terms of Purcell’s plea agreement with the government, he admitted to taking approximately $22,720 in AITC funds which he was not entitled to.  Osborne admitted to taking at least $5,000 of AITC funds, with the total amount of money which he obtained through theft and misapplication to be established at his sentencing.

United States District Court Judge Sharon L. Gleason scheduled sentencing for Osborne on June 30, 2015, and for Purcell on July 1, 2015.  Each defendant faces a sentence of up to 10 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000.00.

Ms. Loeffler commends the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for the investigation of this case.

Updated April 10, 2015