11th Circuit Affirmed Conviction of Fake Indians Selling Tribal Membership to Undocumented Aliens

Here are the materials in United States v. Watson:

Opinion

Watson Opening Brief

US Brief in Watson

Watson Reply

Lower courts materials here.

Fake Indians Convicted in Southern Florida of Selling Tribal Memberships

Here is the magistrate report and recommendations detailing the indictments — US v Watson

An excerpt:

On August 27, 2008, the undersigned Magistrate Judge reviewed an Application and Affidavit for Search Warrant and, based on that review, signed a Search Warrant (DE 121-2) for the premises located at 7500 N.W. 73rd Avenue, Tamarac, Florida. The Application and Affidavit for Search Warrant (DE 121-2) describes in considerable detail Defendant’s alleged criminal activity, as well as the affiant’s grounds for believing that an enumerated list of 13 items evidencing that activity could be found at the search premises.

The Affidavit asserts that Universal Service Dedicated to God, Inc. (“USDG”) was incorporated in Florida in 1996 and that since USDG’s incorporation, Defendant has been listed as its President. Id. at P 4 (DE 121-2). Law enforcement investigation revealed that from August 2005, Defendant and employees of USDG sold memberships in the Pembina Nation Little Shell Indian Tribe (“the Tribe”) by falsely representing to their clients, who were illegal aliens, that they would become United States citizens through their membership in the tribe and thereby resolve their immigration problems. Id. at P 5 (DE 121-2). Charging clients $ 1,500 per individual and $ 2,000 per couple, Defendant and the USDG employees completed applications for membership into the Tribe; they then issued identification documents, fraudulently stating that the applicants were members of the Tribe. Id. at PP 6, 7 (DE 121-2).