OMAHA -- A two-year legal case against nine Omaha Tribal officials charged with using federal funds to give themselves bonuses ended Friday after the final one was sentenced to probation.
U.S. District Judge Robert Rossiter Jr. sentenced former tribal council member Doran Morris Jr., 44, to five years of probation and ordered him to pay $13,404 in restitution.
Morris had previously pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Omaha to one count of misapplication of health care benefit program funds. His sentence was negotiated as part of a plea agreement with federal prosecutors. Other charges were dismissed as part of that agreement.
Morris and former council members Amen Sheridan, Mitchell Parker, Rodney Morris, Forrest Aldrich, Tillie Aldrich and Jessica Webster, current council member Jeff Miller and former tribal employee Barbara Freemont all pleaded guilty to misapplication of health care benefit program funds.
They were indicted in September 2016 on charges of conspiracy, conversion and misapplication of funds from a program receiving federal funds. The indictment, the result of a state and federal investigation, charged them with granting themselves $388,972 in incentive payments from Indian Health Service funds meant to provide health care to tribal members through the Carl T. Curtis Health Education Center. The investigation showed that they used the federal funds to award bonuses ranging from $13,404 to $89,693 to themselves.
The others, like Morris on Friday, were placed on five years probation and ordered to pay restitution.