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American Indian Takes $20K From Her Own Tribe, Plus Money To Pay Mortgage

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Thomas Phippen Associate Editor
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A former administrative assistant for an American Indian tribe put $20,000 worth of charges and cash advances on the tribe’s credit card to make personal purchases, and allegedly used tribe money to pay her mortgage.

The unnamed woman in the Northern Arapaho Tribe admitted she used the tribe’s credit card to make personal purchases. She said she did so after her supervisor was “threatened” by the Northern Arapaho Tribal Business Council, the Office of the Inspector General (IG) at the U.S. Department of the Interior said in a summary its report, released Monday.

The IG said it could not verify the woman’s claims of threats from tribe’s business council, nor could they confirm that she used tribe funds to pay her mortgage.

During the IG’s inquiry of the allegations against the administrative assistant, investigators discovered the former grants official in the Northern Arapaho tribe who “used his position to award himself a grant,” then used the federal funds to pay his own mortgage, the IG said.

The IG gave the results of their investigation to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Wyoming, which declined to bring any charges in for this fraud case.

American Indian governing authorities have been plagued with corruption for years. A 2013 Associated Press review of audits and investigative reports found that out of 551 tribal governments, 124 routinely had complaints filed against them.

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