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Press Release

Former Employee of Sanostee Chapter House Community Services Sentenced for Embezzlement Conviction

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Mexico
Defendant Ordered to Pay $11,656.22 in Restitution to the Sanostee Chapter House

ALBUQUERQUE – Derek D. Smith, 32, of Sanostee, N.M., was sentenced today in federal court in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to a two-year term of probation for embezzling money from an Indian tribal organization.  Smith also was ordered to pay $11,656.22 in restitution to the victims of his criminal conduct.

Smith pled guilty on Feb. 3, 2015, to a felony information charging him with embezzlement and theft from an Indian tribal organization.  According to the information, Smith and co-defendant Theada Hunt, 44, of Newcomb, N.M., embezzled $11,656.22 which belonged to the Navajo Nation.  It asserted that Smith and Hunt perpetrated their embezzlement scheme between April 2012 and July 2012, in San Juan County, N.M.

According to the plea agreement, Smith was employed as a laborer by the Sanostee Chapter House at the time he collaborated with Hunt to embezzle money belonging to the Navajo Nation.  Smith admitted that Hunt provided him with forged checks made payable to Smith.  Hunt then accompanied Smith when he cashed the checks, and Hunt and Smith split the proceeds.

Hunt, also a former employee of the Sanostee Chapter House, pled guilty on Dec. 22, 2014, and was sentenced on May 8, 2015, to a two-year term of probation.  Hunt was ordered, jointly with Smith, to pay $11,656.22 in restitution to the Navajo Nation.

This case was investigated by the Farmington office of the FBI and the Shiprock office of the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety, and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Raquel Ruiz-Velez.

Updated May 15, 2015