A federal grand jury returned a 69-count indictment Thursday against three former officials of the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians, charging them with conspiracy to embezzle tribal funds, embezzlement of tribal funds, making false statements to federal agents and tax charges.
The indictment against John Crosby, 53, of Redding, Ines Crosby, 73, of Orland, and Leslie Lohse, 62, of Glenn County, was announced in a press release issued by Phillip Talbert, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of California.
The tribe operates the Rolling Hills Casino located on tribal land near Corning.
The indictment alleges that between January 2009 and May 2014, the defendants, who had access to tribal funds, embezzled at least $6 million of that money for their own personal expenses. They allegedly sought to conceal the embezzlement by creating a false line-of-credit document and remotely accessing the tribe’s computers to destroy evidence. John Crosby and Lohse are accused of submitting tax returns that omitted the embezzled funds, while, Ines Crosby failed to file any tax returns.
The three were among four members of the tribal council were ousted by tribal membership in April 2014, which culminated in a prolonged armed standoff at the casino in June 2014, the destruction of computer records and the disappearance of a private jet owned by the tribe.
Subsequently, the two factions came to an agreement to hold an election in September 2014. The election resulted in the tribe siding against the ousted members.
If convicted, each of the defendants face a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the charge of falsifying a document in a federal investigation. The maximum statutory penalty for each count of conspiracy, embezzling and making a false statement to a government agent is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The maximum statutory penalty for filing a false tax return is three years in prison and a $25,000 fine, and one year in prison and a $25,000 fine for failure to file a tax return.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service and the FBI. GREAT NEWS!! PUT THE THIEVES AWAY!