AD Header Dropdowns

AD Main Menu

Former Cooper Landing fishing guide charged with ripping off clients

Alex DeMarban

Kenai District Court has charged a former Cooper Landing fishing guide who allegedly stole money from dozens clients after failing to provide all-inclusive fishing trips he'd sold them on eBay.

Thomas W. Murray, 35, owner of Wise Guide Outfitters of Cooper Landing, was charged Dec. 8 with four counts of second-degree theft and one count each of scheme to defraud, unsworn falsification and false information on a fishing license.  The charges of theft and the scheme to defraud are felonies.

 In 2010 and 2011, Murray sold trips to 29 parties with a total of nearly 70 clients, alleged the Alaska Wildlife Troopers’ Wildlife Investigations Unit. Those clients paid Murray $90,000, but he failed to provide the five-day excursions, which were supposed to include transportation between Anchorage and Cooper Landing, guided fishing, meals, lodging and sightseeing.

When Murray did provide trips, he failed to pay other businesses for their services, including lodges, a fishing charter operation and sport fishing guides, wildlife investigators allege. Murray, a resident of Cedar Hills, Utah, owes those businesses more than $27,000 for services provided in 2010.

The investigation began after the investigations unit received a complaint in late 2010. The Alaska Department of Revenue’s Criminal Investigations Unit and the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources assisted the investigation.

Murray is scheduled for arraignment in Kenai District Court at 1:30 p.m. on Friday. Scheme to defraud could bring up to 10 years in prison and a maximum $100,000 fine. Second-degree theft could bring up to five years in prison and a maximum $50,000 fine.

Here's an outdoors forum that includes comments from posters who say they were ripped off by Wise Guide Outfitters.