Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Judge sentences 11 in Navajo Nation corruption case


WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. - A Window Rock, Arizona district court judge recently handed down sentences to 11 defendants for the criminal misuse of hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Navajo Nation's discretionary fund. Four more individuals are scheduled for sentencing by the end of September.

All 15 defendants - two former Navajo Nation Council speakers, 11 former council delegates and two legislative staff members - pleaded guilty or no contest to charges that included conspiracy, fraud, bribery, submitting false vouchers and conflict of interest. All of the cases resulted in conviction and all defendants entered into plea agreements after admitting to taking discretionary dollars for personal or family use, according to court records.

Delegates have access to discretionary funds, or slush funds, to provide assistance to constituents with emergency needs, including single parents, elders and families who need burial funds. A total of 18 defendants - including three who were previously sentenced - helped themselves to a total of $850,000 between 2005 and 2009.


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