ANCHORAGE - A former Anchorage developer serving time at a federal prison in California for bankruptcy and tax fraud has lost his legal appeal and may have to pay creditors up to a half-million dollars in restitution, according to a recent ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Robert Kubick was given a five-year sentence in early 1998 after pleading guilty to felony charges in what prosecutors called the biggest individual bankruptcy fraud case in Alaska history.
He also was ordered to pay $24,000 in restitution. The 59-year-old Kubick appealed the sentence.
The 9th Circuit Court rejected all of Kubick's claims. But it overturned Anchorage District Court Judge John Sedwick's ruling that Kubick had to pay only $24,000 in restitution when 40 creditors were owed more than $15 million, said Assistant U.S. Attorney James Barkeley.
Sedwick followed statutes written before 1997 that said state restitution cannot be set higher than a criminal defendant's ability to pay.
But the appellate court judges ruled that the new Mandatory Victim's Restitution Act, which removes caps on restitution orders, applies to Kubick.
The law was enacted to stop criminal defendants from pleading poverty at sentencing but then later profiting from their crimes by writing books and making movie deals once they're in prison.
Because the plea agreement Kubick signed said he faced at most $500,000 in fines, the appellate court ruled Kubick could not be ordered to pay more than $500,000 in restitution, federal prosecutors said.
A new hearing to reconsider the restitution has not been scheduled.
Kubick's attorney, Alan Ellis of Sausalito, Calif., could not be reached for comment.
``Even if there is an order for restitution, it will be a long time before we see any money out of Bob Kubick,'' William Barstow, the government-appointed bankruptcy trustee, told the Anchorage Daily News.
Kubick was a flashy big game hunter who holds more than 250 records with the Safari Club International Record Book of Trophy Animals. He was a science teacher who capitalized on Alaska's oil boom in the 1970s and early 1980s. After the mid-1980s real estate collapse, he moved to Texas, leaving a trail of debts.
He filed for bankruptcy in 1991. But Kubick wasn't broke. He used family members and friends to create ``shell corporations'' to hide cash and property from the bankruptcy court.
He buried $450,000 beneath homes of relatives in Oregon. He asked his wife to hide his large collection of big game trophies. And he used his then-teen-age daughter as a front for some $1.2 million in property.
His efforts unraveled when friends and family members began to talk. Relatives were granted immunity from prosecutors in the case. Kubick had to be lured from Mexico to face charges after he was indicted by a federal grand jury.