A recently released 19-page federal indictment has detailed accusations against a 44-year-old woman from Burnsville. She worked for a Native American tribe as the controller and eventually chief financial officer for some of the tribe's business entities that sought federal contracts. Investigators claim that she redirected tribal funds under the guise of loans or advances that were never repaid. She also gave herself performance bonuses. One totaled $22,500.
At her upcoming arraignment, she will have to respond to charges of theft from a tribal government that receives federal funds and conspiracy to commit theft or bribery. Additional charges of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud in relation to programs receiving federal funds have been applied as well.
Some of these charges are serious, and convictions on individual counts could call for sentences as long as 20 years each. The charges carry fines of $250,000 as well.
According to a news release about the case, the federally recognized tribe that employed her has roughly 280 members. Her alleged thefts from the tribe took place over the course of seven years.
Evidence in cases of embezzlement or wire fraud depend heavily on financial records. That's why someone facing accusations of a white-collar offense may want to retain an attorney. Legal counsel could review evidence and potentially challenge accusations that do not appear to be supported by clear documentation. With legal advice, a defendant could learn about the pros and cons of going to trial or pursuing a plea deal. If possible, an attorney could push for reduced charges and a light sentence in exchange for cooperation and restitution of damages.