Former Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indian Official and Wife Plead Guilty to Money Laundering Conspiracy
Jackson, Miss. – Kevin Edwards, 48, of Walnut Grove, a former member of the Tribal Council for the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, and his wife, Sheena A. Edwards, 45, pled guilty yesterday to a Superseding Indictment charging them with money laundering conspiracy, announced Acting United States Attorney Darren LaMarca and Michelle A. Sutphin, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Mississippi.
A superseding indictment returned by a federal grand jury on September 10, 2019, charges the former lawmaker and his wife with defrauding the Tribal government, as well as misleading a federally insured bank with intent to obtain loans.
Between March 2015 and June 2017, the husband and wife are alleged to have forged hotel bills and receipts, and to have submitted those documents to the Tribal government in claims for reimbursement for official business travel by Kevin Edwards. Edwards is a former Member of the Tribal Council who left office in June 2017. After receiving the unlawful payments from the tribal government, the two defendants cashed and transferred the payments to multiple bank accounts and paid off personal loans in the name of Sheena Edwards.
“As long as public corruption continues to be an issue in our state, I can promise you that the U.S. Attorney’s Office will be here to root it out, prosecute it, and ensure that justice is done. I want to personally thank the agencies involved for working with us to catch those who violate our corruption laws,” said Acting U.S. Attorney LaMarca.
Kevin Edwards and Sheena Edwards each entered a plea of guilty to one count of conspiracy to launder money, which carries a maximum penalty of twenty years imprisonment. Each defendant can also face a fine of up to $250,000 and up to three years of supervised release. Sentencing hearings for both Kevin Edwards and Sheena Edwards are set to take place before United States District Judge Henry T. Wingate on May 11, 2021, at the Thad Cochran U.S. Courthouse, in Jackson, Mississippi.
Acting U.S. Attorney LaMarca commended the work of the Special Agents with the FBI’s Jackson Division who investigated the case. The Leake County Sheriff’s Office assisted with arrests. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Theodore Cooperstein.