Juneau man charged with fraud

Biologist accused of forgery allowing him to benefit from estate

Posted: Wednesday, October 11, 2000

A Juneau biologist and oil spill specialist is scheduled for trial next month in federal court after being indicted this summer on charges of fraud and forgery.

Bruce Albert Wright was indicted June 21 in U.S. District Court in Anchorage. The indictment charges him with creating and possessing a forged stock or bond of the Jessie M. Wright estate on or about Oct. 6, 1999. The security was a $126,746.07 check made payable to the "L.A. Firemen's Relief Association," according to court documents. Wright is accused of forging the security in such a way that he served to benefit illegally from the estate of his relative.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Audrey Renschen of Anchorage confirmed Tuesday that Wright was arraigned Aug. 17. Wright's trial is scheduled for Nov. 13 in Juneau before U.S. District Judge James Singleton, Renschen said.

The maximum penalty upon conviction would be 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised probation, she said.

Wright is a biologist and oil spill specialist with the Auke Bay Laboratory of the National Marine Fisheries Service. He is chief of the Oil Spill Research Office, which was established in the wake of the 1989 Exxon Valdez crude oil spill. He has continued to look into the long-term effects of the spill on Prince William Sound.

His defense attorney in the pending fraud case is Louis Menendez of Juneau. Menendez had no comment Tuesday.

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