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Paskenta Band accuses former officials of a long 'looting spree'

Filed Under: Law | National | Politics
More on: california, crime, elections, paskenta
     
   

This Cessna 560 jet was purchased with tribal funds and was registered to Paskenta Enterprises Corp in March 2011, according to Flight Aware. The lawsuit claims the tribe paid for private travel by the defendants and their families and associates. Photo from Facebook

The Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians in California filed suit against a slew of former officials, employees and associates on Tuesday, accusing them of engaging in a "twelve-year-long looting spree" that cheated the tribe out of millions of dollars.

The suit refers to Ines Crosby, former administrator; John Crosby, former economic development director; Leslie Lohse, former treasurer and political director; and Larry Lohse, former environmental director, as "ringleaders" under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act. It claims they used the Paskenta Enterprises Corporation, the tribe's economic development entity, as their personal piggy bank.

"The tribe has only just begun the process of identifying and quantifying, in the limited records it has, the total amounts stolen by RICO Ringleaders during the course of their scheme, and the tribe is still regularly discovering additional thefts," the complaint, which was filed in federal court, states. "However, the amounts discovered so far are eye-popping."

So far, the complaint says the ringleaders stole at least $60 million over the years. It names several other defendants, including former employees, financial institutions and private companies, as participants in the scheme.

"In short, while the vast majority of the tribe’s members were depending for most, if not virtually all, of their income, on yearly per capita payments from the tribe of approximately $50,000, the RICO Ringleaders were embezzling millions of dollars of the tribe’s money to support absurdly luxurious lifestyles of private jet travel, luxury homes, highend vacations, custom sports cars, and high profile sporting events," the complaint reads.

Of the four primary defendants, three are tribal members: Ines Crosby is John's mother and Leslie's sister. Larry and Leslie are married.

The spending first came to light after an audit was conducted last year amid a leadership dispute. Tribal members eventually voted Leslie Lohse and three others out of office -- only Lohse is named in the suit.

Get the Story:
Tribe files suit against former members (The Corning Observer 3/11)
Corning casino focus of lawsuit claiming millions embezzled from tribe (The Sacramento Bee 3/11)
Tehama County tribe files federal suit against former officials (The Red Bluff Daily News 3/11)

Related Stories:
Paskenta Band accuses ex-official of stealing $838K for house (02/20)
Paskenta Band holds election aimed at resolving council dispute (09/15)
Audit uncovers questionable spending by leaders of Paskenta Band (09/03)
Paskenta Band funds were used to buy gold and purchase a jet (06/16)
Faction of Paskenta Band asks BIA to recognize new leaders (6/13)
BIA issues cease and desist as Paskenta Band dispute continues (6/11)
Rival faction of Paskenta Band tries to shut down tribal casino (6/10)
Members of Paskenta Band air dispute at city council meeting (6/5)
Editorial: Cooler heads must prevail at Paskenta Band's casino (6/2)
NIGC reportedly sends investigators to Paskenta Band casino (5/29)
Ex-sheriff says no one looking into Paskenta Band theft claims (05/19)
Leadership dispute within Paskenta Band appears to escalate (5/14)
Leader of Paskenta Band raises new claim about theft allegation (5/7)
Leaders of Paskenta Band raise questions about chair's actions (5/2)
Paskenta Band accuses suspended family of misappropriation (5/1)
Paskenta Band suspends family during contentious meeting (4/23)
Paskenta Band says leadership issues won't affect casino (4/22)

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