News and Press Releases

Former Pawnee Nation Employee Indicted For Embezzlement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 10, 2012

Tulsa, Oklahoma - Thomas Scott Woodward, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma, announced today that Frances L. Roughface, 47, of Pawnee, Oklahoma, was charged in a three count Indictment by a Federal Grand Jury with committing crimes related to her oversight of Pawnee Nation funds.

Roughface was arraigned before United States Magistrate Judge Frank H. McCarthy in Tulsa earlier today on charges of embezzlement and theft of more than $33,000 from various tribal programs. If convicted, Roughface could be sentenced to as much as 10 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000.

The Indictment alleges that from 2005 through 2009 Roughface was employed as the Pawnee Nation’s Indian Child Welfare and Child Care Center Coordinator. As the Indian Child Welfare Coordinator, she deceived the Tribe with claims that she spent at least $7,220 of tribal funds on Wal-Mart gift cards for the benefit of Tribal families and children in crisis situations when, in fact, she used the cards to purchase beer, I-Pods, cosmetics, clothing and other items for her personal benefit. According to the Indictment, Roughface also embezzled more than $26,000 of the Tribe’s Child Care Center funds. She deceived the Tribe with reports that she was collecting and depositing all of the Child Care Center’s money into a tribal bank account, but was actually diverting money into a personal bank account.

U.S. Attorney Woodward stated, “This case demonstrates the Department of Justice’s commitment to prosecute crimes in Indian Country, and hold accountable public officials and employees who abuse their positions of trust to personally profit. Those individuals who would embezzle and steal tribal funds, especially funds intended for children and families in crisis, are on notice that they will be investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

The charges result from an investigation by the Department of the Interior, Office of the Inspector General. Assistant United States Attorneys Trent Shores and Clint Johnson are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.

A Grand Jury indictment is one method of charging a defendant with alleged violations of Federal law, which must be proven in a court of law beyond a reasonable doubt to overcome the defendant’s presumption of innocence.

 

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