Law | Politics

Paskenta Band hails charges against ex-treasurer and ex-employees for $6M theft






This Cessna 560 jet was purchased with tribal funds and was once registered to Paskenta Enterprises Corp in March 2011, according to Flight Aware. It has since been sold, according to the site. Photo: Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians

A former official and two former employees of the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians are accused of stealing $6 million from the California tribe.

Federal prosecutors on Thursday announced a whopping 69 charges against former treasurer Leslie Lohse and former employees John Crosby and Ines Crosby. The trio allegedly took tribal money and used it for personal purposes between January 2009 and May 2014.

"The tribe hails the decision by the grand jury to issue this indictment, which represents a significant step towards vindication and justice for the tribe,” Chairman Andrew Alejandre said in a press release on Thursday.

According to federal authorities, the three defendants falsely stated they had been awarded a $5 million line of credit by the tribe in an attempt to cover up their theft. They created fake documents and attempted to destroy evidence by accessing the tribe's computers, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert said in a press release

Chairman Alejandre said the federal indictment vindicates a civil lawsuit that the tribe had filed against the trio, along with numerous other individuals, financial institutions and companies. The lawsuit alleged losses of at least $60 million over the years.

"As alleged in the tribe’s complaint, the harm caused by these persons to tribe members was not limited to the millions they stole from the tribe, which could have been used to improve the general welfare of tribe members," Alejandre said. "These persons also abused and corrupted the tribe’s institutions of government and terrorized its members, including elders who lived in fear of losing the income that they depended upon to meet basic needs and who, in some cases, had such income taken from them for speaking out, leaving them destitute."

The allegations first emerged in 2014, prompting the tribe to suspend several of its citizens who were believed to have been involved, or had knowledge of, the theft of funds. Lohse, who was a nationally-recognized leader, was eventually voted out of office and a new slate came on board.

“The tribe’s success in removing these persons from power in 2014, after over a decade of abuse, was proof of the power of democracy and the resilience and determination of its members," Alejandre said. "This indictment is proof of the federal government’s ability and willingness to uphold justice on behalf of those members and others like them. The tribe is very grateful for the work that led to this indictment and prays for the ultimate success of the government’s effort.”

Ines Crosby and Leslie Lohse are sisters. Lohse is the mother of Kyle Lohse, a professional baseball player. The tribe had alleged she used tribal funds for chartered flights to see her son play at games.

John Crosby is the son of Ines.

Read More on the Story:
Former tribal officials charged with embezzlement (The Redding Record-Searchlight 1/5)
Former tribal leaders indicted on charges they looted $6 million from Corning’s Rolling Hills Casino (The Sacramento Bee 1/5)
Three former tribal officials charged with embezzling (KRCR 1/5)
Ex-Nomlaki tribal officials indicted on federal charges (The Red Bluff Daily News 1/5)

Related Stories:
Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians chooses new leaders for council (10/06)
Paskenta Band to proceed with lawsuit against former officials (08/17)
Paskenta Band accuses former officials of a long 'looting spree' (03/11)
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)