indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
The University of Tulsa College of Law - Master's in Indian Law
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Hopi Tribe banishes non-Indian couple accused of federal fraud

Filed Under: Education | Law
More on: arizona, banishment, crime, employment, hopi, religion
     
   

Michelle Epefanio, far right, and Thane Epefanio, second from right, are accused of defrauding the federal government while they worked at a religious school on the Hopi Reservation in Arizona. Photo: Hopi Mission School

The Hopi Tribe of Arizona has banished a non-Indian couple who worked at a private religious school on the reservation, Mennonite World Review reports.

Thane Epefanio served as superintendent of the Hopi Mission School and his wife, Michelle, was a teacher. It was her work there that led to charges of federal fraud.

According to federal authorities, Michelle Epefanio was receiving Social Security payments because she claimed to be disabled. Yet she was "gainfully employed" at the school, an affidavit filed in court read.

The Facebook page for the school, as well as Michelle's personal page, indicated she was a "lead teacher" as far back as the fall of 2015, Hopi Tuteveni, the tribe's newspaper, reported after the Epefanios were arrested on September 27.

Hopi Mission School is not closing! It was nice to see all of the parental support last night for HMS, it's staff, the...

Posted by Hopi Mission School on Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Hopi Mission School on Facebook: Not Closing!

Classes at the school effectively shut down for the remainder of the year and the principal became unreachable, Mennonite World Review reported. But students returned on Monday, according to a post on Facebook.

After their arrest, the Epefanios were released on their own recognizance. They returned to their home on the reservation and apparently told others that they weren't facing serious criminal charges, Mennonite World Review reported.

“This is serious fraud on the members of the Hopi Tribe, including the students of the Mission School and your continued presence on the reservation may be harmful to the members of the Hopi Indian Tribe,” the exclusion order read, Mennonite World Review reported.

The school serves students from kindergarten to eighth grade. It is closely affiliated with the Mennonite Church and is located on land deeded to the church.

“Mennonite Church USA has cooperated fully with any and all requests of law enforcement officials and will continue to do so,” executive director Ervin Stutzman said in a press release last October.

Read More on the Story:
Hopi school administrator expelled from reservation (Mennonite World Review 1/9)
Hopi school staff members arrested on allegation of Social Security fraud (Mennonite World Review 10/4)


Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Secretary Zinke confirms role in talking to tribes about border wall (3/29)
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs approves five bills at meeting (3/29)
Native Sun News Today: City aims to keep Native homeless safe (3/29)
Elizabeth Cook-Lynn: Indians still don't matter in South Dakota (3/29)
Ray Cook: Unity lost after #NoDAPL camps close in North Dakota (3/29)
Northern Cheyenne Tribe sues Interior Department for coal policy (3/29)
Blackfeet Nation students enjoy surprise visit by Michelle Obama (3/29)
Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women hosts summit (3/29)
Cherokee Nation donates a record $5M to public school districts (3/29)
Authorities investigate remains uncovered on Crow Reservation (3/29)
Little River Band breaks ground on $170M housing development (3/29)
Mohegan Tribe enters partnership with celebrity barbecue chef (3/29)
Judge holds UPS liable for transporting Indian tobacco products (3/29)
Airline pays $1.3M to compensate tribe for plane crash in Brazil (3/29)
Choctaw Nation opens doors to travel center and gaming facility (3/29)
Non-Indian casino in Massachusetts hits construction milestone (3/29)
Trump boasts about approvals for Dakota Access and Keystone XL (3/28)
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe acknowledges 'setback' in pipeline war (3/28)
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe continues to battle pipeline in court (3/28)
Judge orders removal of gas pipeline on Indian land in Oklahoma (3/28)
Stockbridge-Munsee leader delivers tribal address in Wisconsin (3/28)
Doug George-Kanentiio: Peacemaking in the era of Donald Trump (3/28)
Native Sun News Today: Trump purge fails to affect South Dakota (3/28)
Victor Swallow: When the Air Force bomber crashed at Pine Ridge (3/28)
Charles Kader: Courts close their doors to unrecognized groups (3/28)
Whiteclay liquor licenses under review amid outcry in Nebraska (3/28)
Cowlitz Tribe brings Michael Jordan's Steakhouse to new casino (3/28)
Sycuan Band starts work on $226M expansion of gaming facility (3/28)
Seminole Tribe accuses state of breaking gaming compact again (3/28)
Colville Tribes hail 'historic victory' on aboriginal hunting rights (3/27)
Dakota Access confirms pipeline about to go into service with oil (3/27)
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs considers new round of bills (3/27)
Witness list for hearing on diabetes prevention and Native youth (3/27)
Tim Giago: There's a smell of treason in the air in nation's capital (3/27)
Mark Trahant: The fight ahead for the future of Indian health care (3/27)
Bill John Baker: Woman play important roles in Cherokee Nation (3/27)
Brian Lightfoot Brown: One last victory for the Narragansett Tribe (3/27)
Native Sun News Today: Oglala Sioux Tribe questions loss of funds (3/27)
James Giago Davies: Troubled times are coming to Lakota country (3/27)
Sarah Van Gelder: Huge bank divests from Dakota Access Pipeline (3/27)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.