Oglala Sioux Tribe responds to allegations in massive bond scam

Four new buildings have sprung in in the Wakpamni Lake community and will serve as a "town center" for residents. Photo from Facebook

Leaders of the Oglala Sioux Tribe are responding to allegations that they were duped out of millions of dollars in a shady bond scheme.

President John Yellow Bird Steele was adamant in assessing the impact of what federal authorities said was a $60 million fraud. “We’re victims,” he told Indian Country Today.

But the entity at the heart of the scheme -- the Wakpamni Lake Community Corporation -- hasn't said much in public about a criminal case and a civil enforcement action that generated headlines around the world. Seven non-Indians have been charged but no one from the reservation has been indicted.

The corporation was created by the Wakpamni Lake Community, one of the districts of the tribe. According to federal authorities, the entity issued bonds that the defendants used to scam investors out of millions of dollars.

ICT tried to find out how much the corporation might have received out of the deal but didn't find much to go on besides a letter from one of the defendants that claimed $2.72 million went to the community. Four new buildings have recently popped up in Wakpamni Lake but no one will say much they cost or where the money came from.

The corporation's Facebook page and blog describe the structures as a "town center." One of the new buildings is a fire station and the others will eventually house a bakery, coffee shop, laundromat, fitness center, a community hall and a child learning center.

The blog had gone silent for all of 2015 and much of 2016. The first new post went up May 12 -- the day after the indictments were announced.

The Facebook page appears to have been created a couple of days later. The first post went up May 16.

Get the Story:
Wakpamni Lakotas Blindsided By $60M Wall Street Scam (Indian Country Today 6/9)

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