A suspended prison sentence was handed down for an Anchorage man who deposited Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend checks meant for his grandchildren.
Daniel Batalona, 65, was sentenced in Juneau Superior Court on Thursday. He participated in the hearing by telephone.
As part of a plea and sentence agreement, he was sentenced to 24 months in prison – all suspended with no time to serve – for theft and forgery charges. He must also perform 160 hours of community service.
Juneau Superior Court Judge Philip Pallenberg explained that those who are convicted of PFD theft and fraud usually serve time in prison. But Pallenberg said it’s clear that Batalona’s case is different since he did not apply for the PFDs.
Comments made by Judge Pallenberg, the prosecutor, and defense attorney in the courtroom seemed to indicate that Batalona’s crime centered only on the acceptance of the checks. Batalona’s son, now believed to be in Hawaii, filled out the PFD application and put Daniel Batalona’s address on the form as the legal residence address for the children. The elder Batalona then forged his son’s name and signed his own name to endorse the checks and deposit them into his own bank account. Batalona admitted the crime fairly quickly and the three $1021 checks were paid back to the state.
Batalona did not say much during Thursday’s sentencing hearing except at the very end. He seemed eager to start his community work service right away and asked if he could simply walk into a place like Beans Café or The Salvation Army to begin work.