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In Brief

January 18th, 2013 | Hannah Heimbuch Print this article   Email this article  

Former Kotzebue pilot gets three years for tax evasion

A federal court in Anchorage handed former Kotzebue resident Michael A. Spisak, 50, a 44-month prison sentence last week. Spisak was convicted of tax evasion, a federal crime committed during his years as a commercial pilot and fishing and hunting guide.

The Kenai resident was a longtime air-carrier and guide in Kotzebue who has been operating businesses in Alaska since the 1980s. Those businesses include Ram Aviation, Bellair, Inc., TransNorthern Aviation, and Hunt and Fish Alaska.

Spisak was charged with failing to pay more than $140,000 in payroll taxes, and was subsequently fined $200,000 in penalties by the IRS.

According to an report, the U.S. District Attorney's office acquired evidence that Spisak continued to avoid paying both the tax penalties and the original payroll taxes owed. He did this, the report said, by creating a Belize bank account, falsifying information given to the IRS, and transferring money to bank accounts belonging to his children.

Spisak has been incarcerated since his arrest in October, and has more than three years left to serve.

Barrow man dies of natural causes in Anchorage Correctional Center

Barrow's Thomas Sovalik, 55, an inmate at Anchorage Correction Center-West, passed away from natural causes last Friday.

According to Alaska State Troopers, Sovalik was at a local hospital receiving medical treatment when he passed away. Next of kin were notified, as was the State Medical Examiner's Office. No foul play is suspected in Sovalik's passing.

Sovalik was serving two life sentences for the double homicide of two California tourists who were camping on the beach about five miles from Barrow. Gregory J. Underwood, of San Francisco, Calif., and Donna L. Hendershot, of San Rafael, Calif., were found dead in their tents on Aug. 29, 1977. Both had died several days before from multiple shotgun wounds.

Sovalik was 19 years old at the time of the killings.

Selawik man arrested for slashing brother's face

Selawik resident Harry L. Clark, Jr. was arrested last Sunday night after allegedly slashing his brother across the face with a hunting knife.

According to the Alaska State Troopers, a trooper stationed in Selawik responded to the Jan. 6 report of a disturbance coming from a Selawik residence. The trooper found that Clark had assaulted his brother, and charged two bystanders with the same knife.

The bystanders were forced to run for safety, while Clark's brother was helped to the Selawik Clinic to be treated for serious injuries to his face.

Clark was arrested and charged with two counts of third-degree assault for threatening the two bystanders, as well as one count of first-degree assault for the attack on his brother.

Clark was transported to the Kotzebue Regional Jail where he was held on $250,000 bail. Troopers report that alcohol was a factor in this case.


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