Gaming machines at the WinnaVegas Casino Resort in Sloan, Iowa. Photo: WinnaVegas Casino Resort
Public Relations

Former leader of Winnebago Tribe secures dismissal in gaming fund theft case



A federal judge has dismissed charges against a former leader of the Winnebago Tribe who was accused in a gaming fund theft case.

The charges against Morgan Earth were dismissed on Wednesday at the request of federal prosecutors, The Sioux City Journal reported. But the reasons are unclear -- the judge's order contains no details and another document that could contain more information is under seal.

Earth was among nine former leaders -- including John Blackhawk, the tribe's former longtime chairman -- who were accused of taking funds from the WinnaVegas Casino Resort without authorization and placing them on pre-paid debit cards. The funds were essentially used to supplement the salaries of council members, federal prosecutors said.

So far, six defendants, including Blackhawk, have pleaded guilty. The most recent was Darwin Snyder, who entered into an agreement on October 2. He is due for sentencing on January 8, 2018.

In addition to Blackhawk, the others who pleaded guilty are Louis Houghton, Lawrence Payer, and Thomas Snowball. Charles Aldrich. Of those, Aldrich, Houghton and Payer have been sentenced.

Of the remaining two defendants, Travis Mallory has pleaded not guilty, The Sioux City Journal reported. Ramona Wolfe has been ordered to undergo a mental evaluation due to concerns about her mental state.

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

Read More on the Story:
Theft charges against ex-tribal councilman dismissed (The Sioux City Journal November 2, 2017)

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