Man charged with stealing from Alaska Marine Conservation Council disappears

Posted: Tuesday, July 14, 2009

ANCHORAGE - A man charged with stealing more than $108,000 from the nonprofit Alaska Marine Conservation Council has disappeared, but not before he first confessed to his crimes online, sought legal help and promised to return all the money, authorities said.

Over eight months, police said, Travis Robinson used the nonprofit conservation group's credit cards for a personal spending spree.

He bought car washes, TVs, laptops, Starbucks coffee and an aquarium with sea horses. He paid his rent. He bought a $900 Gucci bag plus plane tickets for himself and a friend.

In April, he sought legal advice online. Then in late May, his old landlord told police the 36-year-old had abandoned his downtown Anchorage apartment. He left behind three laptops, two hard drives and a credit card with the Marine Conservation Council's name on it.

The missing money amounted to more than 10 percent of the nonprofit's annual budget.

Robinson planned to pay everything back, he explained on the Web site. Except someone stole things from him and tampered with his car.

"I decided I would just continue on with stealing and would just kill myself when it was all said and done," he wrote on a legal-advice Web site under a pen name. "I even went as far as flying out of state twice to find a particular drug which causes a quick and painless death, and I kept it handy at all times."

He described the crime and asked for help, saying he understood the "severity" of his actions and knew he'd have to face the consequences.

"What should I expect and how should I move forward from here?" he asked the Web site's audience of legal pundits and would-be lawyers.

Robinson told police - and his online audience at ExpertLaw.com - that he didn't try to hide his crimes. Officials at the nonprofit say that's not true, that Robinson did try to cover his tracks, at one point sabotaging the company's record-keeping software.

The executive director at the time said the nonprofit's records weren't up to date when she took the job, making it harder to spot problems.

"That's why it was a shocker. ... How the heck did we miss this, how could we possibly have missed this?" said Barbara Seaman, who has since resigned. "But it was in all of that lack of record-keeping, and his cover-up of the record-keeping."

Board chairman Karl Ohls said the nonprofit has since tightened oversight. Co-workers figured out what was happening when they looked at his e-mail when he wasn't in the office and found some questionable messages.

A computer-savvy council volunteer later found the confession at ExpertLaw.com, and tracked the author's username - Teodoro-dolci - to Robinson.

Robinson had created a Web site called www.newcitiesoldsins.com, that listed his real name and the Teodoro-dolci alias, according to police. Detectives used search warrants to track the Internet post back to Robinson's computer.

On June 26 a judge signed a warrant for Robinson's arrest on four felony charges including theft and fraud.

As of Friday, police didn't know where he was. Robinson's online confession and question got one reply.





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