The patriarch of the Alaskan Bush People, Billy Brown, has had a complicated history with the law. Discovery Channel viewers were already aware that the show was a bit scripted, but now a look at Billy’s past legal troubles reveal that the show wasn’t so perfect after all.
Billy grew up within a middle-class family in Fort Worth, Texas. Sadly, when he was only a teenager, his father, mother, and sister Kathy perished in a small plane crash.
The Alaskan Bush People patriarch was forced into becoming emancipated from his family and, in the end, lost any claim to his family’s money. This marked the first situation of any legal troubles for the reality TV star, but it wouldn’t be his last.
Bonnie and Clyde take two
Most Discovery Channel fans know Billy’s colorful past from his time on the hit show, which featured his family living off the grid in the Alaskan bush. Billy introduced viewers to a life beyond the mainstream continental USA.
But before he became known for the Alaskan Bush People, Billy was charged with horse theft back in 1980. He and his wife, Ami Brown, stayed in Texas for one year after getting married before fleeing Texas.
During the spring of 1980, Billy was arrested on April 15 for stealing a horse from a stable owner in El Paso, Texas, according to Radar Online. At the time, it was reported that he had a teen accomplice, which is said to have been Ami.
The outlet shared that their source was a former student who was traveling with them at the time. The goal was to steal the steed and make it over the Mexican border. In the end, Billy was caught. The father of seven pled guilty and was given one year of probation.
Billy lied to the US government
In 2014, Billy made significant accusations that the government burned down his home during the Fight or Flight episode. The Alaskan Bush People star claimed local authorities perpetrated the event because the house was on public land.
During the episode, Billy’s family is awoken in the middle of the night by gunshots. Billy later told cameras, “This land is not worth dying for.”
30 years after his original run-in with the law, Billy found himself once again in trouble. Billy was not the only member of the Brown family implicated in this crime as many of his children and wife were also charged with 60 counts of first-degree unsworn falsification and first and second-degree theft.
The United States government claimed that the family had falsified records which stated that they were living in Alaska from 2011-2013 when they weren’t.
The purpose of the fraud was the Alaskan Bush People star’s way of continuing to receive Alaska’s Permanent Fund Dividend.
Billy and Bam went to jail
The Permanent Fund Dividend is paid out to Alaska residents from investment earnings of mineral royalties. According to the Alaskan.gov website, “The annual payment allows for Alaskans to share in a portion of the State minerals revenue.”
Billy and Bam Bam pled guilty in order to spare the rest of their family members. They served 30-day jail sentences and had to perform 40 hours of community service after their release in 2016.
In 2017, Billy spoke with People saying, “Because of the way we live our lives and the way we often unconventionally travel, I didn’t keep good track of our movements.”
Billy Brown broke a contract
Even after his death, Billy is still facing massive legal accusations. A Tennessee doctor named Robert Maughon sued the estate and Billy’s Alaskan Wilderness Family Productions for alleged breach of contract.
The Sun reported that a lawsuit was filed in April, and the doctor claimed he and Billy signed a contract in January of 2009 that stated he would receive 10 percent from Billy’s publications. The Tennessee doctor also alleged he invested $20,000 of his own money but never saw a return.
The Alaskan Bush People patriarch was always a decisive part of the show. And even though, throughout the years, fans have criticized the show’s validity, the Wolf Pack has forged on with their dreams. But when it comes to getting away with crimes, Billy Brown fought the law, and the law won.
The Alaskan Bush People is currently on hiatus.