Ninth Circuit Partially Reverses Conviction for Theft from Fort Peck Tribe

Here is the opinion in United States v. White Eagle.

The court’s summary:

The panel affirmed in part and reversed in part a criminal judgment in a case arising out of the involvement by the Bureau of Indian Affairs Superintendent at the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in a scheme to obtain money from a tribal credit program.

Reversing convictions on counts charging conspiracy to convert tribal credit program proceeds (18 U.S.C. § 371) and theft and conversion from an Indian Tribal Organization (18 U.S.C. §§ 1163, 2), the panel held that the government’s misapplication theory, predicated at best on an employer directive and a civil regulation, cannot support a conviction; and that the government’s embezzlement and conversion theories also fail because the defendant never controlled or had custody of the funds that she later borrowed.

Affirming a bribery conviction (18 U.S.C. § 201(b)(2)), the panel held that a jury could easily infer a quid pro quo and had ample evidence to conclude that the defendant’s actions were “corrupt.”

Because the government did not show that the defendant violated a specific duty to report credit program fraud, the panel reversed her conviction of concealment of public corruption (18 U.S.C. § 1001(a)(1)).

And the briefs:

White Eagle Opening Brief

US Answer Brief

White Eagle Reply Brief

United States v. Fred Paquin Indictment

As reported on Indianz yesterday, former Sault Tribe chief of police and board member Fred Paquin has been indicted in federal court. Here is the indictment:

Fred Paquin Indictment

Tenth Circuit Affirms Conviction of Tribal Embezzler

Here is the opinion in United States v. Oldbear, affirming the conviction of a tribal employee for embezzlement of tribal funds. An excerpt:

Louella Oldbear, a member of the Cheyenne-Arapaho Indian Tribes, used tribal funds to repair one of her personal vehicles and to purchase another. A federal jury convicted her of five counts of embezzling Indian tribal funds in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1163 and one count of making a false statement to a government agent in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001(a)(2).

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Here is the unpublished opinion in United States v. Island from the Tenth Circuit, in which a tribal council member’s secretary had used wire transfers from a gaming revenue checking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

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U.S. v. Janis — CA8 Affirms Conviction for Embezzlement from Tribe

Here is the opinion in United States v. Janis, affirming a conviction under 18 USC 1163 for embezzling funds from an Indian tribe, the Oglala Sioux Tribe — us-v-janis-ca8-opinion