Nampa Man Pleads Guilty to Embezzling Tribal Funds
BOISE – Kyle Prior, 38, of Nampa, Idaho, pled guilty in United States District Court today to theft of federal funds, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced. Sentencing is set for March 20, 2012, before Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill at the federal courthouse in Pocatello.
During his guilty plea, Prior admitted that between September 16, 2008, and July 28, 2009, while acting in his capacity as Executive Director of the Upper Snake River Tribes Foundation (USRT), he used a Wells Fargo bank debit card issued to the foundation to make purchases for his personal use. According to court documents, after Prior was terminated from employment, an audit and subsequent investigation found Prior made numerous inappropriate transactions. On November 24, 2010, during an interview with a Department of Energy, Office of Inspector General investigator, Prior admitted using USRT funds for his personal use.
The USRT was created to protect tribal heritage related to fish wildlife and other natural resources. It is a non-profit organization led by a commission consisting of a tribal member from each of the Shoshone-Paiute, Shoshone-Bannock, Paiute-Shoshone, and the Burns-Paiute of Oregon tribes. The Bonneville Power Administration Fish and Wildlife program awarded a contract of federal funds to USRT to facilitate and coordinate the four member tribes' participation in the regional activities involving implementation of the Fish and Wildlife program.
“Mr. Prior violated the public trust placed in him by the tribes who direct the Upper Snake River Tribes Foundation,” said Olson. “Those who are entrusted with public money have a solemn obligation to use that money for its intended purpose. Those who violated that trust for their own personal gain will be prosecuted.”
The charge of theft of federal funds is punishable by up to ten years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and up to three years of supervised release.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Inspector General.
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