Five people have been indicted on charges of embezzling almost a half-million dollars from the Trident Seafoods plant in Kodiak. U.S. Attorney Aunnie Steward says the nearly $500,000 discrepancy was discovered some time after bookkeeper Isa Wolfe was fired two years ago:
“She’d been there a very long time, and actually was there years before the embezzlement started," Steward said. "And when she was terminated the folks that came in to take over discovered that a lot of fraudulent accounting had been going on for quite some time.”
The U.S. Attorney’s office alleges that Wolfe wrote 52 checks from the Trident Seafoods account between January 2008 and August 2010 to four friends and the underage son of one of them. Also indicted were Jeremy Smith and Jamie Fathke of Kodiak, Anne Wilson of Kent, Washington, and Valerie Olivares of Corpus Christi, Texas.
Steward says Wolfe was taken into custody on Friday and Smith was already jailed on unrelated charges and turned over to federal custody. The two are scheduled to be arraigned this (Monday) afternoon in Anchorage federal court. No arraignment date was announced for Wilson and Olivares. Fathke has not yet been taken into custody.
Steward said the next steps in the prosecution, such as court dates, will be determined by a judge:
“We’ll have a better idea of that after the initial appearance," she said. "And the court will set a schedule for those things.”
Steward said the maximum total sentence is 20 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both, for each count, as well as restitution for the amount embezzled. Under the federal sentencing statutes, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendants.
A reminder that an indictment is only a charge and a defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Trident spokesman John van Amerongen could not be reached for comment.