In 2016, Alaskan Bush People’s Billy Brown was sentenced to 30 days in jail for allegedly lying about applying for funds that he was not qualified for, according to the Associated Press.
Distractify specifies that the family “lied on Permanent Fund dividend applications between 2011 and 2013 to receive yearly oil revenue checks given to Alaskan residents.” However, the family was not living in Alaska at the time, making them unqualified or the funds.
According to Fox News, both Billy and his son, Joshua, pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree unsworn falsification. Because of the guilty plea, the charges against the rest of the Brown family were dropped.
Billy Released a Statement Shortly After His Sentencing
In a statement obtained by ABC News, Billy Brown said, “Alaska’s dividend program has specific requirements for the length of time in the state, and the reasons for being out of Alaska.”
He continued, “Because of the way we live our lives and the way we often unconventionally travel, I didn’t keep good track of our movements. I accept full responsibility for filing for benefits without confirming that we met the requirements. We are committed to living in Alaska for the long term and we respect the state’s rules. I thought it best to settle to put this behind us.”
The Family Also Owed the State $21,000
On top of the jail sentencing, the Brown family was required to pay nearly $21,000 in restitution and complete 40 hours of community service.
Billy and his wife, Ami Brown, are parents to five boys (Gabe, Noah, Joshua, Matt, and Bear), and two girls (Snowbird and Rain.) The show premiered in 2014 to instant success and was originally set in the Alaskan wilderness.
Since then, the Brown family has relocated to Washington state, to a 500-acre property in Tonasket– a community of only 995 people. The family made the move after Ami Brown experienced a health scare.
The Brown family matriarch was diagnosed with lung cancer a few years back, and the family decided to move to Washington so they could be closer to a healthcare facility. In an interview with Monsters & Critics about the move, Billy shared, “We didn’t really have much choice in how we decided. The doctors were quite emphatic that we couldn’t go back there, it was just too hard to get her to…to set up something she would need if something happened, and we also have to go in every three months now to get CAT scans and CT scans.”
Since then, Ami has gone into remission. A 2019 Distractify article states that she still goes to the hospital every three months to make sure she is healthy.
The outlet quotes Ami as saying, “It’s going to be a part of my life forever. But I want to encourage people to enjoy every moment and walk every moment with God because He knows what it’s about. Never give up faith.”