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Former chairman of Winnebago Tribe sentenced to probation in gaming theft case

Tuesday, December 5, 2017
John Blackhawk resigned as chairman of the Winnebago Tribe in April 2015. Photo: Ho-Chunk Inc
John Blackhawk, the longtime former chairman of the Winnebago Tribe, was sentenced for his role in a gaming theft case.

Blackhawk, 62, will serve five years on probation and will pay $36,000 in restitution after pleading guilty to one count of theft from a gaming establishment on Indian lands. He admitted he received funds from the WinnaVegas Casino Resort without proper authorization.

According to federal authorities, the funds were placed on pre-paid debit cards and distributed to Blackhawk and other former tribal leaders, essentially acting as a supplement to their salaries. Blackhawk has already paid $13,574.65 in restitution to the tribe, according to records entered into court on Monday, when he was sentenced.

Blackhawk led his tribe for nearly 20 years before being forced out amid controversy over the funds. A total of nine former leaders were eventually indicted in federal court in Nebraska. Of the nine defendants, six have pleaded guilty.

One other person has secured the dismissal of charges while another is undergoing a mental health evaluation. The last defendant has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.

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

The full docket entry for Monday's sentencing follows:
TEXT MINUTE ENTRY for proceedings held before Chief Judge Laurie Smith Camp as to defendant John Blackhawk.
Sentencing held on 12/4/2017. Revised Presentence Investigation Report is adopted. Plea agreement accepted. Government's oral motion to dismiss counts II and IV of the Indictment is granted; Defendant is sentenced to: Probation for a term of 5 years; Special Assessment in the amount of $100.00; Restitution in the amount of $36,000, paid $13,574.65; Defendant released on conditions of Probation; Appearance for plaintiff: Douglas R. Semisch; Appearance for defendant: Jerry M. Hug, CJA; No interpreter used during hearing.
Courtroom Deputy: Mary Roundtree; Court Reporter: Brenda L. Fauber; Time Start: 11:05 AM; Time Stop: 11:12 AM; Time in Court:7 Minutes. (MKR)

Read More on the Story:
Ex-Winnebago tribal chairman placed on probation for theft (The Sioux City Journal December 4, 2017)
Council chairman sentenced for stealing from casino (WOWT December 4, 2017)
Ex-tribal chairman gets probation for theft from casino (KWWL December 4, 2017)
BLACKHAWK SENTENCED FOR THEFT OF CASINO FUNDS (KCSJ December 4, 2017)

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