Tenth Circuit Affirms Conviction for Embezzlement from C&A Tribes

Here is the unpublished opinion in United States v. Island from the Tenth Circuit, in which a tribal council member’s secretary had used wire transfers from a gaming revenue checking account to gamble in Vegas, apparently.

Of note, the court mentioned how the Cheyenne & Arapho Tribes had handled their gaming revenues:

In 2001, Ms. Island was hired as a secretary/assistant by Robert Tabor, the chairman of the business committee and elected representative of Arapaho District A-2. Initially, the committee used a single checking account for net gaming proceeds from which any of the eight members could write checks. Later, the committee implemented a system by which its treasurer and Cheyenne District C-4 representative, Eddie Whiteskunk, would divide the proceeds among individual committee members, including himself and Mr. Tabor.

Beginning in 2002, Ms. Island worked exclusively for Messrs. Whiteskunk and Tabor and ran their offices on a daily basis. Part of her duties included writing checks from their respective gaming proceeds checking accounts to tribal members who needed financial assistance – authorized expenditures under § 2710(b)(2)(B). During this same time and on trips to Las Vegas, Nevada,and Albuquerque, New Mexico, Ms. Island obtained money from those checking accounts (wire transfers) for her and others’ personal use, which formed the basis of her ensuing indictment for conspiracy and embezzlement. The evidence was that she obtained more than $15,000 that was later divided among the participants. Following a two-day trial, the jury found her guilty of five counts of embezzlement of less than $1,000 under 18 U.S.C. § 1163, and one count of conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States under 18 U.S.C. § 371.

Useful teaching tool maybe….