Former Anchorage prosecutor sentenced for biggest wire fraud in state history

Former Anchorage resident and former municipal prosecutor Mark Avery was sentenced Monday for 160 months for the wire fraud and money laundering of about $52 million. This marks the largest wire fraud and money laundering conviction by amount ever prosecuted in Alaska.

Avery was convicted of three counts of wire fraud, six counts of money laundering, one count of bank fraud, and one count of making false statements to a bank. Of the $52 million that Avery laundered, $31 million was from a wire fraud scheme that defrauded the May Smith Trust, of which he was a trustee. The other funds came from defrauding the May Wong Smith Trust.

U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler spoke of the magnitude of Avery’s actions in a press release.

“Today’s sentencing brings to a close a lengthy investigation of one of the largest fraud case perpetrated in Alaska,” Loeffler said. “Mr. Avery’s conduct involved a massive breach of fiduciary obligations and just convictions for someone who used his access to these huge funds to defy the wishes and bequests of the Smiths and spend their trust funds on personal debts, whims, wishes and pie in the sky ventures unsupported by any business planning.”

Among the items purchased with the ill-gotten millions were two World War II-era fighter planes, two boats, and various real estate.  In addition to the prison term, Avery was also ordered to serve five years of supervised release, pay a $100,000 fine, and pay restitution to the May Smith Trust in the amount of $45,925,737.57.

 

 

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Wesley Early covers municipal politics and Anchorage life for Alaska Public Media. Reach him at wearly@alaskapublic.org.

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