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3 indicted in 2 separate PFD fraud cases

Posted: February 22, 2012 - 12:01am

Three people in two separate criminal cases were indicted on Friday for submitting fraudulent Permanent Dividend Fund applications, according to court records.

A married couple with four children who were residing in Anchorage, Slimane Benarroudj, 50, and Kheira Benarroudj, 37, face multiple felony counts of unsworn falsification, theft and scheme to defraud, according to their joint indictment.

Assistant Attorney General Anne Preston with the Attorney General’s Office of Special Prosecutions and Appeals alleges Slimane submitted fraudulent PFD applications to the Department of Revenue in Juneau and received PFD and Alaska Energy Rebate checks totaling $34,237, according to court papers. The indictment states he submitted fraudulent applications in his own name and as the sponsor of his four children from 2007 to 2010.

Slimane’s wife Kheira is accused of receiving checks totaling $7,509 after submitting fraudulent PFD applications during the same time frame, from 2007 to 2010. She is also accused of submitting a fraudulent 2011 PFD application in her own name and as the sponsor of her four children.

Altogether, the couple faces 11 charges. Separately, Slimane faces three counts of first-degree unsworn falsification, one count of first-degree theft and one count of scheme to defraud.

Kheira faces four counts of first-degree unsworn falsification, one count of second-degree theft and one count of attempted second-degree theft.

Those are all class ‘B’ or class ‘C’ felonies, except the one count of attempted second-degree theft, which is a class ‘A’ misdemeanor.’

Class ‘B’ felonies can carry up to 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine, and the less serious class ‘C’ felony can carry up to five years in prison and a $50,000 fine. Class ‘A’ misdemeanors are the most serious misdemeanor class and can carry up to one years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Court records do not indicate when they are due in court. Their cases are assigned to Juneau Superior Court Judge Louis Menendez.

Another Anchorage man, Kenneth Wilson Comfort II, 49, was also indicted Friday on one felony count of unsworn falsification and one misdemeanor count of attempted second-degree theft, according to the indictment.

Comfort is accused of not disclosing any absences from the state of Alaska on his 2011 PFD application.

“He specifically stated that he had not been absent for a total of 90 days or more or 180 days or more during the applicable year 2010 on his 2011 PFD application; and he specifically stated that he was physically present in the State of Alaska on the date he filed his 2011 PFD application electronically; all of which was not true,” the indictment states.

Comfort is scheduled to be arraigned on March 8 in Juneau Superior Court before Judge Philip Pallenberg.

• Contact reporter Emily Russo Miller at 523-2263 or at emily.miller@juneauempire.com.

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