Former Executive Director of USRT Sentenced for Embezzling Tribal Funds
Court Ordered Restitution of $36,485
BOISE – Kyle Prior, 38, of Caldwell, Idaho, was sentenced today to the custody of the Bureau of Prisons for 10 months for theft of federal funds from the Upper Snake River Tribes Foundation, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced. Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill recommended that Prior be placed in a residential reentry center in Nampa, Idaho, to serve the sentence. After he is released from custody, Prior will serve three years of supervised release. Prior was ordered to pay $36,485 in restitution.
At his plea hearing on January 3, 2012, 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's employment was terminated, an audit and subsequent investigation found that he 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 was entrusted by the Upper Snake River Foundation to use public funds appropriately and responsibly,” said Olson. “Instead, he abused that trust and will pay a heavy price. This office is committed to working with its tribal partners to ensure that those who violate the public's trust for personal gain – like Mr. Prior – will be prosecuted.”
The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Inspector General.
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