News and Press Releases

FORMER TULALIP TRIBAL HOUSING CHAIRMAN
SENTENCED FOR EMBEZZLING TRIBAL FUNDS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 3, 2005

DALE MICHEAL JONES, 62, of Marysville, Washington was sentenced to 3 years of probation, including 6 months of electronically-monitored home confinement, in U.S. District Court in Seattle today for Embezzlement of Funds from an Indian Tribal Government. JONES served as Chairman of the Tulalip Tribal Housing Authority Board of Commissioners from 1993-2002. In August 2004, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development put the Tulalip Tribes on notice that federal housing funds were in jeopardy because of long term, "deep performance problems," leading to fraud, waste and mismanagement. In sentencing JONES today, Chief U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik found that JONES had abused a position of trust he held within the Tulalip Tribes.

In his plea agreement, JONES admits that he collected a $100 or $200 daily stipend for meetings and travel, as well as his salary as an employee of the tribe in an unrelated department. These double payments were expressly prohibited by Tulalip Tribal Ordinance. Over a period from February 1999 to November 2002, JONES illegally received more than $23,000. An examination of the Tulalip Tribal Housing Authority's financial records by the Northwest Office of Native American Programs revealed that the Tulalip Tribal Housing Authority Board of Commission (BOC) is responsible for nearly $500,000 in unallowable costs. The BOC members have returned only a small fraction of the misused funds.

In asking for 6 months of home confinement Assistant United States Attorney J. Tate London emphasized that the damage JONES caused to the Tulalip Tribes was not limited to the $23,500 he embezzled. "During Jones' long tenure as Chairman of the Board of Commissioners of the Tulalip Tribal Housing Authority, the TTHA was plagued by widespread internal control and financial problems. Jones is largely responsible for these problems, which have jeopardized millions of dollars the Tulalip Tribes would otherwise receive under the Indian Housing Block Grant program," London wrote in his sentencing memorandum.

This case was investigated by the Housing and Urban Development Office of Inspector General and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney J. Tate London.

For additional information please contact Mr. London at (206) 553-7970 or Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer, United States Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington at (206) 553-4110.

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