OMAHA | The former vice chairman of the Winnebago Tribe was placed on probation Monday for theft from the tribe's casino.
Chief U.S. District Judge Laurie Smith Camp placed Darwin Snyder, 50, on five years probation and ordered him to pay $36,500 in restitution plus a $100 special assessment. Snyder has paid $4,955 of the restitution thus far, according to court records.
Snyder pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Omaha in October to one count of theft from a gaming establishment on Indian lands. As part of a plea agreement, charges of conspiracy and wire fraud were dismissed.
He is the sixth of nine former council members initially charged in the case to be sentenced for theft. Charles Aldrich, Louis Houghton, Lawrence Payer, Thomas Snowball and former tribal chairman John Blackhawk all have been placed on five years probation and were ordered to pay restitution ranging from $36,000 to $36,500. Each pleaded guilty to theft from a gaming establishment.
Nine former council members were indicted in July 2016 on charges of conspiracy, theft from a gaming establishment on Indian lands and wire fraud.
Travis Mallory has pleaded not guilty to the charges, and a judge has ordered Ramona Wolfe to undergo a mental health examination to determine whether she is competent to proceed with her case. In November, all charges against Morgan Earth were dismissed.
An FBI investigation determined that while on the tribal council, members had given themselves raises and bonuses totaling $327,500 directly from the tribe's WinnaVegas Casino Resort without approving them at council meetings. The distributions were recorded on the casino's books as miscellaneous administrative expenses. The case stemmed from a 2015 tribal investigation that led to the nine either resigning or being ousted from office by newly elected council members.