Bootlegging charges result in hefty prison term
Former Valdez woman to serve six years plus five years probation
A Valdez judge sentenced a former Valdez woman to over six years in prison Thursday for her role in importing illegal alcohol and narcotics to the village of Tatitlek.
Lori Ann Clum, also known in Valdez as Sue Johnson, was sentenced to six years and four months in state custody by Judge Dan Schally. Clum, age 47, pleaded guilty to consolidated felony charges last year.
Her sentence is for 10 years, with four years suspended for the first group of consolidated charges, and 24 months, with 20 months suspended, for other consolidated charges. There is also a five-year probation requirement for both. Schally also mandated Clum not drink alcohol after her release.
“No booze,” Schally said. “Period.”
Clum’s attorney, Lance Wells, had asked the court for leniency, arguing his client had participated in numerous drug rehabilitation programs while incarcerated, tried to cooperate in apprehending other suspects with drug or alcohol related charges and had the support of her family, including her husband and mother-in-law.
“I think there is some rehabilitative potential here,” Schally said before passing sentence, but also noted there was a great deal community condemnation stemming from her actions and a pattern of “dodge and skate” for three past cases needed to be addressed. “She’s been manipulative as well” in past court dealings.
Clum’s husband, pilot Daniel Clum, appeared at the sentencing telephonically. He told the court of numerous people he had turned in to authorities for allegedly attempting to fly bootleg booze or drugs into villages in an attempt to help his wife receive a lesser sentence by proxy.
The prosecution argued that as a pilot, Daniel Clum had a legal responsibility to report illegal booze and drugs to authorities and the judge did not count Clum’s efforts as mitigating factors when passing sentence on his wife.
Clum has already served 16 months of an 18 month sentence for embezzling over $100,000 in funds from the Tatitlek Native Village. Clum pleaded guilty to the charges in Federal Court in October of 2013 after a high profile arrest by the FBI. Clum’s brother, James Kramer, was sentenced by federal courts to spend eight months in prison for failing to file an income tax return for the year 2009, which federal prosecutors claimed included $20,000 that had been embezzled from tribal funds from the Native Village of Tatitlek.
Clum broke down in tears at her sentencing when Schally asked her if she wanted to address the court.
“I do take full responsibility for my actions,” she said, and told the court she was in the process of rehabilitation for past emotional trauma and drug addiction. “I’m thankful for where I’m at today.”
Clum, who was in custody at the time of the sentencing, told the court she wanted to change her ways and get home to her children.
“My morals and values were so twisted,” she told the court. “I want to apologize to the court for my behavior, apologize to the village for my behavior.”
David Totemoff, president of the Tatitlek IRA council, told the court that Clum’s actions had negatively affected the village.