Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 6:06 PM on Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Woman charged in fisherman's fund fraud

By Michael Armstrong
Staff Writer

A Kenai grand jury last week indicted a Homer woman for second-degree forgery, a class C felony, after she was alleged to have forged a commercial fishing license in an attempt to get medical coverage from the Alaska Fishermen's Fund. Sara Lynn Brooks, 26, faces the one felony count as well as misdemeanor charges for second-degree attempted theft and second-degree unsworn falsification.

According to a criminal complaint, Brooks filed a claim for benefits for an injury received while fishing July 6, 2009, on the F/V Family Affair. In her claims request, Brooks signed a statement swearing she had a current valid commercial fishing license. She attached a commercial fishing license that the Alaska Department of Fish and Game said had been issued on July 19, 2009. A technician for the Fishermen's Fund said Brooks' license appeared to have been altered.

The Alaska Fishermen's Fund is financed from commercial fishing licenses and permit fees and provides for treatment of Alaska licensed commercial fishermen injured while fishing in Alaska.

When Alaska State Trooper Michael Henry interviewed Brooks in December, Brooks claimed she had two licenses, one bought before the injury and a second one she bought after she said she couldn't find the first one. After Henry told her records showed she only had the July 19 license, Brooks is alleged to have said, "OK, you got me." She told investigators she knew she needed a commercial fishing license to be covered under the Fishermen's Fund and said she altered the license to receive $3,500 in medical benefits.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael.armstrong.@homernews.com.