Former Naknek Electric Association manager sentenced for embezzling over $500,000

A Naknek woman found guilty of embezzling over half a million dollars from the Naknek Electric Association was sentenced May 16 to serve 34 months in federal prison, followed by three years of probation.

The U.S. Attorney Alaska District office said that this was the largest embezzlement from an organization receiving federal funds ever prosecuted in Alaska.

Donna Vukich, 60, worked at NEA since 1986. She was the general manager for almost two decades, according to NEA. In that role, she oversaw NEA’s spending and financial reporting. The sentence passed last week concerns her last four years as manager. 

Vukich assigned her personal expenses to general accounts. She used a company credit card to make $510,181 in unauthorized personal purchases — including approximately $113,000 for cruise and air travel, $16,000 for casino visits, and $7,000 for essential oils. She also used the NEA’s money to pay her daughter’s college tuition.

At the same time, the Internal Revenue Service found Vukich also filed false income tax returns. The IRS investigation found that because Vukich did not report the embezzled NEA money, the federal government lost $138,689 in taxes.

Vukich pleaded guilty in January to federal theft and filing a false tax return. She has repaid NEA the money she was found guilty of embezzling.