Dancers at a Shinnecock Nation powwow in New York in September 2017. Photo: barry B
Business Deals | New York

Former Shinnecock Nation official sentenced for cybercrime that derailed casino plan

A former Shinnecock Nation gaming official was punished in connection with a cybercrime that effectively derailed the New York tribe's casino plans.

Karen Hunter was sentenced to three years of probation, The Southampton Press reported. She previously pleaded to one count of misdemeanor computer fraud, according to court documents, admitting that she broke into the email account of a tribal citizen who was working on the gaming project and disseminated false claims about the messages she stole.

“Your honor, she did not just steal my personal emails … she stole the Nation’s future,” Charles B. Randall IV said in a victim impact's statement that he read in court on Tuesday, The Press reported. He later emailed a copy of his statement to Indianz.Com.

Randall later told the paper that the sentence of probation was a "joke." He noted that Hunter's crime led to major upheaval within the tribe just as it had gained federal recognition in 2010 following a decades-long effort.

The email hack occurred in early 2012, The Press reported. It eventually led to a federal raid on the tribe's gaming authority in May 2013.

The trailer that housed the authority mysteriously burned down a few months later. Hunter accessed Randall's emails from a computer that had been inside the trailer, The Press reported.

In a sentencing memorandum, which contains additional details about the crime, federal prosecutors said a sentence between "zero and six month’s imprisonment" for Hunter was warranted. The judge handling the case was not required to accept the recommendation and no explanation for the probation-only sentence was not provided in court documents.

After Hunter pleaded guilty in November 2016, Randall told The Press that others could be prosecuted for the crime. Her case was initially filed under seal -- a tactic that could indicate others might be facing charges -- and another document was filed under seal on December 1.

Read More on the Story:
Karen Hunter Sentenced To Probation In Case Involving Stolen Emails And Tribe's Gaming Plans (The Southampton Press December 13, 2017)

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Former gaming official from Shinnecock Nation enters guilty plea (November 1, 2016)
Shinnecock Nation said to be in gaming talks with Seminole Tribe (January 5, 2015)
Opinion: Shinnecock Nation's casino plans remain under cloud (October 24, 2014)
Shinnecock Nation gaming partner cut $250K monthly payment (October 1, 2014)