Judge gives 1 year in prison to forger of $126,747 check

Posted: Wednesday, March 14, 2001

A Juneau scientist convicted of forging a check to get access to more than $100,000 in funds designated for charity has been sentenced to prison.

Convicted forger Bruce Albert Wright was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court in Juneau before Judge James Singleton.

Singleton sentenced Wright to 12 months in jail, three years supervised probation, a $40,000 fine, and $3,588.33 in restitution.

Prosecutor Audrey Renschen of the U.S. Attorney's office in Anchorage and Wright's lawyer, Louis Menendez, could not be reached for comment.

According to court documents, Wright forged a check for $126,747 in October 1999 intended for the Los Angeles Firemen's Relief Association, which helps the families of fallen firefighters. The check came from the estate of Wright's grandfather, Jessie M. Wright, who died in 1998. Wright was a beneficiary of the estate.

The check was sent to Wright in June 1999 after he persuaded the executor of the estate that he wished to present the check formally to the firemen's association, according to court documents. He endorsed the check with a rubber stamp he specially ordered, and deposited nearly all the money in his own investment accounts, the documents said.

Following an FBI investigation and Wright's conviction, the money was given to the Widows, Orphans and Disabled Firemen's Fund, according to the firemen's association.

Wright pleaded guilty in mid-January to one count of making and possessing a forged security. His Jan. 18 plea agreement called for a sentence of between 15 and 21 months with a possibility that it be served on home detention. Before the plea agreement, he faced up to 10 years in jail and a $250,000 fine.

Wright, 48, is an oil spill specialist at the Auke Bay Laboratory of the National Marine Fisheries Service and chief of the Oil Spill Research Office. The Bureau of Prisons has not yet designated where or when he will serve his sentence.

Ann Chandonnet can be reached at achandonnet@juneauempire.com.

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