Former Fairbanks leader arrested

Posted: Tuesday, May 20, 2003

FAIRBANKS (AP) A former Fairbanks civic leader has been arrested as he tried to re-enter the country after more than a decade on the run.

Thomas Miklautsch was indicted along with four others on multiple counts of bank fraud, including conspiracy, after he disappeared from the state as authorities investigated Alaska Statebank, which failed in 1989.

Miklautsch is a former University of Alaska regent, Fairbanks city councilman and local business leader.

Miklautsch, a director for the bank, was arrested by U.S. Customs officials April 30 at the Los Angeles International Airport, said FBI Special Agent Eric Gonzalez. The U.S. Attorney's office plans to prosecute the case, Gonzalez told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

An oil and land developer and former general manager of the Alaska Goldpanners baseball team, Miklautsch also was a well-known pharmacist who once owned the Tanana Valley Clinic building.

By the early 1990s, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. had investigated the bank and the Internal Revenue Service was suing Miklautsch and his wife for $850,000 in back taxes. The couple vanished.

Miklautsch, who is now in his 70s, was one of five Alaska Statebank executives accused of fraud and conspiracy for alleged insider loans in 1984. The group was charged with issuing inflated dividend payments as the bank lost money and the state's economy struggled in the 1980s.

The other executives ex-board chairman Ralph E. Whitmore, former president H. Derrell Smith and former directors William Swain and Robert Ely were convicted or reached a settlement.

The group reportedly used the loans in a failed bid to take over rival Alaska National Bank of the North.

In November 1990, the IRS filed a civil lawsuit against Miklautsch and his wife seeking more than $850,000 for a ''tax deficiency.''

The FBI investigated the bank fraud case and a federal grand jury indicted Miklautsch in March 1995.

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