The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

By Lee Revis
Editor, Valdez Star 

Embezzler's brother sentenced to 18 months

James Kramer failed to file taxes for income that included stolen funds


James Kramer in an undated Valdez police photo.

James Kramer was sentenced to eight months in prison last week 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.

The 48-year old Valdez man is the brother of Lori Ann Clum, the former village president who recently was sentenced to serve 18 months in prison after she pleaded guilty to embezzling $112,000 in tribal funds. Kramer was questioned by the FBI about the $20,000 last summer at the time of Clum's arrest.

U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason

Prosecutors say she gave Kramer $20,000 in tribe money and he in turn did not report the stolen money as income in 2009 or the other $107,800 he earned that year.

Gleason also fined Kramer $2,000.

The judge said Kramer's failure to pay taxes on income that included criminal proceeds was more serious than just failing to pay taxes.

Clum, also known as Sue Johnson and Lori Ann Blake, was elected president of the village in 2007 but voted out six months later. After her ouster, she refused to recognize the results and continued to control tribal accounts for another year. Prosecutors say she admits to having embezzled $112,000.

Village officials claimed $600,000 was missing from its coffers

She was sentenced to 18 months prison time earlier this month in a plea bargain.

Clum was set to appear for a calendar call in Valdez court Tuesday for a status update on state charges of bootlegging and drug trafficking in the village.

Clum made headlines January 2013 when she was arrested by Alaska State Troopers for illegally selling liquor in the dry village. She was later indicted and charged with 21 felony counts of trafficking in liquor, misconduct with controlled substances, intent to sell narcotics, and weapons charges, including five counts of felon in possession of a firearm.

In March, 2009, Clum, under the name Lori Ann Johnson, was arrested at Merrill Field in Anchorage while boarding a flight to Tatitlek when troopers found her to be in possession of prescription narcotics without documentation.

Tatitlek, is a Native Village with a community of 83 people on Prince William Sound, about 25 miles southwest of Valdez. It relies heavily on funding from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Health and Human Services.

David Totemoff, the current president, said the Village suffered numerous hardships after Clum's theft; a lack of money delayed fuel shipments and unpaid IRS demands further drained Village resources. Village funded jobs dried up and many bills went unpaid, including funds earmarked for critical fuel delivery to the off-road community.

Lori Ann Clum, aka Sue Johnson and Lori Ann Blake.

"While we can list the damages from not having money to operate our community the damage done to the residents emotionally is something that cannot be fully described in words," Totemoff said in a victim's impact statement to the court. "The fear that you will be without your job to create income for feeding your family or the threat of not having fuel to heat your home is devastating."

Many in the village feel Clum's 18 month sentence was a slap in the face, and that she deserved more prison time.

"We as a community pride ourselves on creating and maintaining relationships based on integrity with those that we do business with," Totemoff continued. "We work to protect our Residents and maintain a lifestyle that we have lived for many years. With the damage that Mrs. Clum has created we fell that she is a continued risk to the community. She has shown that she is capable of wreaking havoc on the people of Tatitlek without regard for the welfare of her own community and people."


Reader Comments

nycseo writes:

agree with as said 'We as a community pride ourselves on creating and maintaining relationships based on integrity with those that we do business with. Lucy Griffit


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