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Man pleads not guilty to PFD fraud

Posted: March 23, 2012 - 12:06am

A Cooper Landing resident pleaded not guilty Thursday to submitting a fraudulent Permanent Fund Dividend application in 2011.

Kenneth Wilson Comfort II, 49, entered his plea in Juneau Superior Court. He appeared via telephone from Mobile, Ala. where he was on a ship for work purposes.

Assistant Attorney General Anne M. Preston with the Attorney General’s Office of Special Prosecutions and Appeals alleges Comfort failed to disclose absences from the state of Alaska on his 2011 PFD application.

Preston said Comfort falsely stated he had not been absent for a total of 90 days or more or 180 days or more, and falsely stated he was physically present in Alaska on the date he filed his 2011 PFD application electronically, according to charging documents.

Comfort was indicted by a grand jury last month for one count of unsworn falsification, a felony, and one count of second-degree attempted theft, a misdemeanor.

When asked if he wanted a court-appointed attorney, Comfort told Judge Philip Pallenberg he could afford to hire his own attorney, though he doesn’t yet have counsel.

Pallenberg ordered Comfort to be released on his own recognizance and ordered him to appear in court for a continued arraignment hearing on April 19.

The Empire previously reported Comfort was from Anchorage based on Alaska State Trooper records, but Comfort told the judge on Thursday he will be returning to Cooper Landing when his ship arrives to Alaska in mid-April.

Cooper Landing is on the Kenai Peninsula, about 100 road miles south of Anchorage.

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

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