(PRNewswire-USNewswire) The Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians today filed a lawsuit in federal court charging its former treasurer and three former senior officials with defrauding the Tribe of tens of millions of dollars that otherwise would have been used to improve the lives of Tribal members. The complaint alleges that these four individuals used vote-rigging, bribery, and extortion to take control of the Tribe and its principal non-casino business entity during this far-reaching, decade-long scheme.
Also named in the lawsuit are individuals, including several family members of the four defendants, and businesses that participated in the conspiracy and/or aided and abetted the illegal activity.
Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, the Tribe’s complaint states 25 claims for relief against the defendants, including claims under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO), and various other federal and state laws, including those covering fraud, conversion, and cybercrime.
The complaint details a pattern of plunder of Tribal money by Ines Crosby, former Tribal Administrator; John Crosby, former Tribal Economic Development Director; Leslie Lohse, former Tribal Council Treasurer and Political Director; and Larry Lohse, former Tribal Environmental Director, to give themselves all the trappings of a lavish lifestyle, such as private jet travel, opulent homes, expensive jewelry and gold, sports cars, luxury vacations, and trips to high-profile sporting events. According to the complaint, not only did these defendants take more than $20 million in unauthorized compensation from the Tribe, they also used the Tribe’s bank accounts, credit cards, and other resources as their own, simply writing checks on the Tribe’s accounts to pay for millions of dollars in personal purchases.
The complaint further describes how these four defendants corrupted the Tribe’s democratic system of governance and exploited the economic vulnerability of the vast majority of Tribal members to first gain, and then keep, their positions of control and access to the Tribe’s money. This included, for example, falsely establishing a $1 million bond requirement for any person who sought to challenge Leslie Lohse for the position of the Tribe’s treasurer, and threatening any who questioned the defendants’ authority with suspension from the Tribe, and thus the loss of per capita payments which are a primary source of income for the majority of Tribal members.
“The Tribal Council takes very seriously the duties it owes Tribe members under the Tribe’s Constitution,” [Andrew] Purdy [of the Joseph Saveri Law Firm] added. “The Council believes this lawsuit is in the best interests of all members of the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians. These individuals must be held accountable for their illegal actions.”
For more information about the complaint, Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians and Paskenta Enterprises Corporation v. Ines Crosby, John Crosby, Leslie Lohse, Larry Lohse et al., contact Stuart G. Gross, of Gross Law P.C., at (415) 671-4628, or Andrew M. Purdy of the Joseph Saveri Law Firm, Inc., at (415) 500-6800 or visit http://gross-law.com/ news/14126005/Paskenta.
(Source: Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians)