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How The Entire Alaskan Bush People Family Managed To Escape Jail Time

The reality show "Alaskan Bush People" has had its share of controversies since it began airing in 2014, probably more than most series have had to deal with. While the description on Discovery says "Deep in the wilderness lives a family who, for the last thirty years, has lived in the wild," there have been many disputes about this, especially since star Billy Brown passed away at a home in nearby Loomis, Washington, and not on the mountainside property they own. On the show, the family is filmed at the Palmer Mountain property, while neighbors claim that the Browns actually live in Loomis (via The Sun).

The questions about whether they've ever actually lived on their mountain property in Washington got so bad, that Noah Brown took to Instagram to explain his and his wife's living situation. "To set the record straight so that everyone can stop asking and speculating," he wrote. "The mountain is home, North Star Ranch is home, the only reason that we are not on the mountain right now is because Rhain and I personally lost everything in the Palmer mountain wildfire; so we are in a rent house until we can rebuild what we lost."

But fans of the show still have questions, especially since the Browns had charges filed against them in 2014 related to their Alaskan residency (via Anchorage Daily News).

Billy and Bam Bam pled guilty so the rest of the family wouldn't be charged

In 2016, Billy Brown and Joshua "Bam Bam" Brown of "Alaskan Bush People" began serving their 30-day sentences at home with ankle monitors after they were charged with lying on their Permanent Fund dividend applications. The whole family was actually charged with the misdemeanor offense of unsworn falsification, but in exchange for Billy and Bam Bam's guilty pleas, the charges against the others were dropped (via Anchorage Daily News). Billy Brown also gave a signed statement saying he left Alaska in 2009 and didn't return until 2012.

The Permanent Fund dividend is a portion — 25% — of the money Alaskans gets for its mineral deposits and oil from the Trans-Alaska Pipeline (via Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation FAQs). The amount varies year to year, with the 2021 amount listed at $1,114. Residents who live in Alaska at least 180 days of the year get the dividend. In a statement to ABC News at the time, Billy said, "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."

Discovery has yet to announce if "Alaskan Bush People" will continue for a 14th season, so fans will have to wait to see what the future holds for the Brown family.