Man gets year in prison for check forgery

Posted: Thursday, March 15, 2001

JUNEAU (AP) -- A Juneau scientist has been sentenced to a year in prison for forging the endorsement to a check to get access to more than $100,000 his grandfather left to charity.

Bruce Albert Wright was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court in Juneau.

Judge James Singleton sentenced Wright to 12 months in jail, three years of supervised probation, a $40,000 fine, and $3,588 in restitution.

Wright forged the endorsement on a check for $126,747 intended for the Los Angeles Firemen's Relief Association, which helps families of fallen firefighters.

The check was from the estate of Wright's grandfather, Jessie M. Wright, who died in 1998. Wright was a beneficiary of that estate.

The check was sent to Wright in 1999 after he persuaded the executor that he wished to present the check to the firemen's association himself, according to prosecutors. He endorsed the check with a rubber stamp he specially ordered, and deposited nearly all the money in his own investment accounts.

Following an FBI investigation and Wright's conviction, the money was given to the Widows, Orphans and Disabled Firemen's Fund.

Wright pleaded guilty in January to one count of making and possessing a forged security. His plea agreement called for a sentence of 15 to 21 months with a possibility that it be served on home detention. Before the plea agreement, he faced up to 10 years in jail and a $250,000 fine.

Wright, 48, is an oil spill specialist at the Auke Bay Laboratory of the National Marine Fisheries Service and chief of the Oil Spill Research Office. The Bureau of Prisons has not yet designated where or when he will serve his sentence.

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