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Former Winnebago tribal official is seventh to plead guilty of stealing from casino

Former Winnebago tribal official is seventh to plead guilty of stealing from casino


OMAHA -- A former Winnebago Tribal Council member pleaded guilty Thursday to theft from the tribe's casino.

Travis Mallory, 41, entered his plea in U.S. District Court in Omaha to one count of theft of funds belonging to an Indian gaming establishment. Sentencing was scheduled for July 8.

Mallory is the seventh former tribal official who has pleaded guilty to using WinnaVegas Casino Resort funds for pay for personal raises and/or bonuses.

Charles Aldrich, Louis Houghton, Lawrence Payer, Thomas Snowball, former tribal chairman John Blackhawk and former tribal vice chairman Darwin Snyder 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.

All charges against Morgan Earth were later dismissed. Prosecutors also dismissed charges against Ramona Wolfe after a judge found her mentally incompetent to proceed to trial and assist in her defense.

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.

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