Texas sues fake tribe for selling 'membership'

The state of Texas sued three people who are selling fake tribal memberships immigrants with promises of U.S. citizenship.

The Kaweah Indian Nation, based in Kansas, is not recognized by any state or the federal government. But it has been selling tribal membership cards to immigrants, telling them it will help them gain U.S. citizenship.

Texas attorney general Greg Abbot says that's illegal and filed suit against Malcolm “Grand Chief Thunderbird IV” Webber, a pastor named Victor Ramirez and Ralph Tipton, an "ambassador" for the tribe in Texas.

The National Congress of American Indians called the group "fraudulent" and its leaders "impostors." "Fraud and impersonation is shameful. The actions of the groups in question not only exploit illegal immigrants, but also do a tremendous disservice to the legitimate tribal governments who are working hard to meet their governmental obligations to their citizens," said NCAI executive director Jackie Johnson.

"Tribal citizenship in Indian Country is a serious process. Tribal membership cannot be bought or sold," Johnson added.

The FBI has received complaints about the group's tactics in Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and other states.

Get the Story:
'Tribe' sells citizenship for $400 (The San Antonio Express-News 8/22)
Press Release: Texas Attorney General Abbott Charges Group with Orchestrating Scheme to Sell False U.S. Citizenship (Texas AG 8/21)
Group sued in connection with selling fake citizenship documents (The Brownsville Monitor 8/21)
Complaints Mount Against Indian Tribe (AP 8/21)

Related Stories:
Opinion: Immigrants fall for citizenship scams (8/21)
Unrecognized tribe cites 10K immigrant recruitments (8/15)
Arrests linked to tribe selling 'membership' (8/14)
Fake tribe offers membership to Mexican nationals (8/10)