Billy Brown and his son Joshua “Bam Bam” Brown from the Discovery channel entered a plea bargain so they could stay out of jail. They said they would pay back all the money they owed to the state of Alaska and do community service instead. However, according to Alaska Dispatch News, Juneau Superior Court Judge Philip Pallenberg firmly rejected their plea deal. He believes that they should spend at least 30 days in prison and maybe it would deter other people from stealing state money.
Billy and Joshua originally pled guilty to lying on their Permanent Fund applications so they could each collect a four figure monetary amount. They claimed they lived in Mosman Island in the southeastern portion of Alaska during the years of 2009 and 2012 when they were living in Colorado and Texas. Because the judge threw out their plea deal, Billy and Joshua withdrew their guilty pleas. Now, they will have to wait until sometime in early December to finish their court hearing and find out what will happen to them.
In October, Billy, his wife Amora and four of their children, Joshua, Solomon “Bear,” Gabriel “Gabe,” and Noah, were charged with a total of 60 counts of first-degree unsworn falsification and first- and second-degree theft. Billy and Joshua were hoping they could strike a plea bargain and just serve 2 years probation and pay back the money they owed. If the plea deal had been accepted, Billy would pay $7,956 and Joshua would pay $1,174. The other members of the Brown family, Amora, Solomon, Gabriel, and Noah, would have had their cases dismissed, but each one would have to pay $3000 back to the state of Alaska and do 20 hours community service. All the above family members would never be allowed to claim money again from the Alaskan Permanent Fund.
The Brown’s attorneys argued, “They’re kind of TV stars. This exposure here is not good. It can’t help their show, Judge. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen their show, but it’s about pioneering Alaskans — showing what it’s like to live in rural Alaska — and this case would make it look like they’re not these pioneering Alaskans.”
The Brown family was not at the Juneau court for the hearing because they were in Seattle. It is unknown at this time why there were there or where in Seattle they were calling. They were silent on the phone, and only answered to respond when their names were called during roll call.
The family was in trouble earlier with the Alaskan Fish and Game for claiming resident fishing licenses when they were living in Colorado and Texas. This isn’t the first time that the Brown family has landed in trouble over their fake Alaskan residency. In August, six members of the Brown family, Solomon, Joshua, Noah, Matthew, Billy, and Gabriel, were in trouble with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. When they bought their hunting and fishing licenses, they faked their Alaskan residency.They were living in Colorado and Texas during that time and they didn’t move to Alaska until August 2012.
What the court battle will do to the future of their reality TV show, “Alaskan Bush People” is not known at this time. When the season premier came on, almost 5 million people tuned in to watch the adventures of Billy, Amora and their seven kids living off the land and surviving in the Alaskan wilderness. Will this alter your thoughts about Billy and his family who claim they were born and raised in the wilderness?