Alaska Digest

Posted: Sunday, September 25, 2005

Man charged with felony assault

JUNEAU - A 59-year-old Juneau man was ordered held on $2,000 bail Friday, the day after police arrested him on a felony charge of third-degree assault of a woman in the Mendenhall Valley.

Leslie I. Potter pleaded not guilty Friday in Juneau District Court to an additional charge of fourth-degree assault, a misdemeanor charge stemming from the incident that led to his arrest. No plea on the felony would be entered unless the case is remanded to Superior Court.

Police arrested Potter on Thursday night and lodged him at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center. District Court Judge Keith Levy set bail Friday afternoon.

Officers reported responding the an emergency call in the valley shortly before 8:30 p.m., police reported. At the home, the woman said an argument she had with Potter escalated, and he struck her several times in different parts of the body.

The woman also said Potter threatened her with a large kitchen knife when she attempted to use the telephone to call police, officers reported. The threat allegation is the foundation for the felony charge.

Court-appointed defense attorney Julie Willoughby told District Court Judge Keith Levy that Potter told police the woman attacked him.

Texas men charged with fraud

ANCHORAGE - Two Texas men are accused of targeting elderly people in home-repair scams in Alaska and four other states.

Federal charges have been filed against Edward Ted McDonald, 44, and brother-in-law Edward James Jennings, 43. They are accused of using several aliases as they went from state to state, representing themselves as contractors for roof repairs, driveway work and other jobs between May 2003 and April 2005.

Besides Alaska, McDonald and Jennings also operated in California, Oregon, Arizona and Kansas, according to court documents.

The men did substandard work, then skipped town with their clients' money and left no contact information, said the U.S. Attorney's office in Anchorage.

In Arizona, the men allegedly set a roof on fire and told the homeowner that their insurance would cover the damage. In Oregon, they charged one person $8,000 for a two-hour rat extermination job, the charging documents say.

In July 2004, McDonald and Jennings came to Alaska, according to court documents. They are accused of bilking an elderly Ketchikan homeowner of $1,800 for "shoddy work" on a roof repair. Other elderly victims in Alaska were in Valdez and North Pole, the charges say.

The pair also obtained fake Alaska identification cards or driver's licenses in Seward, Petersburg, Ketchikan and Valdez, the documents say.

They were arrested by Alaska State Troopers in Ketchikan last spring when they tried to obtain Alaska drivers licenses with false-looking California identification, the U.S. Attorney's office said.

Guide pleads no contest

FAIRBANKS - A Fairbanks hunting guide pleaded no contest to charges he conducted an illegal sheep hunt in the Brooks Range.

Eugene Mack Witt, 41, was fined $12,250 and his guide license was suspended for five years after reaching a deal with the state.

Witt pleaded no contest Aug. 26 to three illegal hunting charges, with four other charges being dropped in the proceedings in Fairbanks District Court, Alaska State Troopers said Friday.

According to charges filed in Fairbanks District Court, Witt billed three hunters $10,000 apiece and sent them into the field with his assistant guide and two other men in August 2003.

Each of the hunters shot a ram under the direction of the assistant guide and gave the meat of the sheep to Witt after returning to Fairbanks, without filling out a transfer form.

When Witt and his assistant showed up at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service office in Fairbanks to inquire about permits allowing their clients to transport Dall sheep trophies through Canada, they were told to bring their clients back with the trophies to complete the paperwork.

Federal agents became suspicious when Witt never returned and went to his home, where they saw what appeared to be unprocessed meat in an open freezer.

In an interview with Alaska State Troopers, Witt acknowleged he didn't go into the field with the hunters and that he did not have transfer forms for the meat, but that the horns of all three sheep appeared to be legal.

The federal agents, along with an Alaska State Trooper, later met with the three clients at their hotel and found that two of the sets of horns were not full curl.

Ex-Guard accountant sentenced

FAIRBANKS - A former Alaska Air National Guard accountant was sentenced Friday to two years in prison on charges of embezzling public money and filing a false tax return.

Jeffrey Dey Kellogg, 40, of North Pole was indicted in May on multiple embezzlement charges, accused of stealing about $350,000 from the U.S. government.

Kellogg also faced three counts of falsifying tax returns from 1999 to 2001.

The indictment listed amounts stolen ranging from $1,800 to $6,700 between 1999 and 2002. Kellogg during that period was a master sergeant in the Alaska Air National Guard.

Stephen Cooper, an assistant U.S. district attorney, said Friday that Kellogg pleaded guilty to one count of each charge.

U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Beistline sentenced Kellogg to 24 months in prison plus three years of supervised release afterward, said Dan Wardlaw of the Internal Revenue Service in Vancouver, Wash.

Beistline ordered Kellogg to pay restitution of $361,264.60, Wardlaw said.

According to Kellogg's pretrial report, he was in the Air Force for 18 years and worked as a cab driver when he was indicted.

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