Fairbanks fugitive pleads not guilty to bank fraud

Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2003

ANCHORAGE (AP) Thomas Miklautsch, a former Fairbanks banker and city councilman, has pleaded not guilty to federal fraud charges.

Miklautsch, 77, entered the plea Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Anchorage. He faces 15 charges related to bank fraud.

Miklautsch, a fugitive since 1994, was arrested in Los Angeles in late April. He was indicted in 1995 on charges of bank fraud, conspiracy and making false statements.

Miklautsch is being held without bail.

Prosecutors said Miklautsch and other officials of the now-defunct Alaska Statebank had planned to help chairman Ralph Whitmore buy a rival bank in the mid 1980s.

According to the charges, the bankers conspired to loan themselves the money to buy stock in the rival bank. But the bank failed in 1987 and the stock became worthless. Debts to Alaska Statebank were unpaid for years.

Miklautsch's attorney, Eric Sanders, said his client has traveled internationally as a Christian missionary since he left Alaska.

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