The Winnebago Tribe owns and operates the WinnaVegas Casino Resort in Sloan, Iowa. Photo: WinnaVegas Casino
Public Relations

Former leader of Winnebago Tribe pleads guilty in gaming theft case

A former council member for the Winnebago Tribe is pleading guilty in connection with the theft of gaming funds.

Lawrence Payer, 71, is admitting to one charge of misapplying funds belonging to an Indian gaming establishment. He supplemented his council salary with money from the WinnaVegas Casino Resort, according to a plea agreement filed in federal court on Monday.

According to the agreement, funds from the facility were used to load pre-paid debit cards, which were then given to Payer and other council members. The document indicates Payer accepted $27,000 on the cards over the course of two years.

Federal prosecutors indicted Payer and eight other former leaders -- including former longtime chairman John Blackhawk -- in connection with the scheme. He is the first to plead guilty for his role, The Lincoln Journal Star reported.

Winnebago headquarters are in Nebraska but the tribe has trust land in Iowa, where WinnaVegas is located.

Read More on the Story:
Former Winnebago Tribal Council member pleads guilty to casino theft (The Lincoln Journal Star 5/9)
Former Winnebago tribal officer pleads guilty (The Sioux City Journal 5/9)