John Blackhawk resigned as chairman of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska in April 2015. Photo: Ho-Chunk Inc
Public Relations

Former chairman of Winnebago Tribe pleads guilty for theft of gaming funds



John Blackhawk, the longtime former chairman of the Winnebago Tribe, pleaded guilty for his role in the theft of gaming funds.

Blackhawk, 62, admitted he spent funds from the WinnaVegas Casino Resort without authorization, The Lincoln Journal Star reported. The money had been distributed to him and other former leaders of the tribe on pre-paid debit cards.

Blackhawk, who led his tribe for nearly 20 years before being forced out amid controversy over the funds, entered his plea agreement on Monday. Sentencing is scheduled for December 4.

In addition to Blackhawk, four other former leaders of the tribe have pleaded guilty. They are: Louis Houghton, Lawrence Payer, Charles Aldrich and Thomas Snowball.

Houghton was sentenced to five years probation and ordered to pay $36,500 in restitution while Payer was sentenced to probation and $36,000 in restitution. Aldrich and Snowball await sentencing.

The cases against Darwin Snyder, Travis Mallory, Morgan Earth and Ramona Wolfe remain resolved. All had been indicted in July 2016, after they were forced out of office in response to allegations of corruption on the reservation.

The cases are being prosecuted in Nebraska, where tribal headquarters are located. WinnaVegas is on trust land in Iowa.

Read More on the Story:
Former Winnebago chairman pleads guilty (The Lincoln Journal Star September 13, 2017)

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