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Arrest warrant out in PFD fraud case

Posted: November 10, 2011 - 12:06am

A father of three whose family is entangled in an ongoing Permanent Fund Dividend forgery case has been accused of submitting a fraudulent PFD application in his own name in a second case.

Zachary Scott Batalona, 39, is accused of one count of unsworn falsification and one count of second-degree attempted theft, according to an information filed Friday by Assistant Attorney General Anne Preston. He is alleged to have applied for a 2010 PFD check after giving up his primary residence in Alaska when he moved to Hawaii with his three children in November of 2009.

Juneau District Court Judge Thomas Nave issued a bench warrant for Batalona’s arrest, which went into effect on Monday. Bail is set for $2,500.

Batalona’s father, Daniel Batalona, 64, of Anchorage, was indicted last month on charges he signed and deposited three PFD checks for his three grandchildren, who are Zachary’s children, in October of 2010.

Daniel told the Associated Press at the time he made the checks out to his grandchildren and signed them with his name and Zachary’s name. AP reported Daniel thought it was legal to keep the money for his grandchildren until they were older, and when the state informed him otherwise, he returned all the money in March of 2011.

The Department of Law over the summer asked Daniel to plead guilty to third-degree forgery in a deal to keep him out of jail. He refused, saying he made an “honest mistake.”

That case will go to jury trial in January of 2012, electronic court records show.

The state of Alaska will extradite Zachary if necessary, the arrest warrant indicates, although the defendants have a right to waive extradition and can voluntarily return themselves to Alaska. Zachary’s last known address was in Anchorage.

Unsworn falsification is a class ‘C’ felony and second-degree theft is a class ‘A’ misdemeanor. Both carry sentences of up to five years in jail and a $50,000 fine.

An affidavit of counsel shows the Permanent Fund Division in Juneau received a fax with Zachary’s new Wahiawa, Hawaii, address on Sept. 23, 2010. Zachary called an eligibility technician in November to confirm his new address.

The technician determined his absence from Alaska at the time of filing his 2010 PFD application was not allowable because he had obtained benefits in Hawaii and maintained his principal home in Hawaii during 2009 and on the date of filing. Zachary confirmed later that his wife, Lisa, had filled out and signed his 2010 PFD application with his knowledge and consent.

Zachary indicated he didn’t know if he was going to return to Alaska, but the children would be back to live with their mother under a joint custody arrangement where the children split time between the two of them.

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

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