Fairbanks fugitive to return to Alaska for fraud trial

Posted: Wednesday, May 21, 2003

FAIRBANKS A former Fairbanks civic leader who was recently arrested in Los Angeles is awaiting transfer to Anchorage, where he will be tried on federal bank fraud, conspiracy and other charges.

Thomas Miklautsch, 77, disappeared a decade ago in the midst of a bank fraud investigation.

Prosecutors will resurrect 1995 indictments filed against the former Fairbanks City Councilman and University of Alaska regent.

Miklautsch was arrested at the Los Angeles International Airport in late April and is currently in custody of federal marshals. He faces counts of bank fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud, false entries in the books and records of a bank, as well as misapplication of state funds, said Joe Bottini, an assistant U.S. attorney prosecuting the case.

No court date has been set.

Bottini said he didn't know where Miklautsch has been since he was last seen in Alaska in 1994 or when he is expected to arrive in Anchorage.

The fraud charges stem from Miklautsch's alleged involvement in a failed takeover of rival Alaska National Bank of the North by now-defunct Statebank, where Miklautsch was a director.

He was one of five bank executives identified in an investigation of the bank, but vanished with his wife, Helen, long before others were brought to trial.

It is not clear if Miklautsch also will be charged with fleeing from justice.

In Alaska, Miklautsch was prominent in Fairbanks political and business circles, with investments in the North Slope oil fields and other ventures. He was a prominent pharmacist and the general manager of the Fairbanks Goldpanners.

After an FBI investigation into the bank matter, Miklautsch and four others were indicted on a range of charges, including making improper insider loans and using bank assets to finance the lavish lifestyle of its former chairman, Ralph Whitmore.

Whitmore and two other Alaska Statebank directors William Swain and Robert Ely pleaded guilty or were found guilty on some of the charges. Charges were dropped against another defendant.

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