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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Mississippi

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Three Individuals Indicted for Theft and Wire Fraud Committed Against Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians

Federal Charges Stem from Defendants’ Submissions of Fraudulent Claims for Reimbursement

Jackson, Miss. – Randy Lamar Anderson, 46, of Conehatta, Kevin Edwards, 47, of Walnut Grove, and Roderick Bell, 40, of Philadelphia, were recently indicted by a federal grand jury for theft or embezzlement and wire fraud in separate schemes to defraud the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians government with false claims for travel reimbursement payments, announced United States Attorney Mike Hurst and Christopher Freeze, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Mississippi.

Anderson and Edwards are each separately charged with one count of theft and two counts of wire fraud. Bell is charged with one count of theft and one count of wire fraud.

According to the indictments, between March 2015 and December 2017, the three men are alleged to have forged hotel bills and receipts and submitted those documents to the Tribal government for reimbursement for official business travel.

Edwards will appear before United States Magistrate Judge Linda R. Anderson in Jackson, Mississippi, today, Tuesday, February 12, 2019, at 1:30 pm for his arraignment. Anderson and Bell will appear before Judge Anderson for their arraignment on February 13, 2019, at 1:30 pm.

Theft or embezzlement from a Tribal Organization carries a maximum sentence of imprisonment of five years. Wire fraud carries a maximum term of imprisonment of twenty years. Each charge can merit a fine of up to $250,000 and up to three years of supervised release.

U.S. Attorney Hurst commended the work of the Special Agents with the FBI’s Jackson Division who investigated the case. The Sheriff’s Offices in Leake, Neshoba and Newton Counties assisted with the arrests. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Theodore Cooperstein and Special Assistant United States Attorney Kevin Payne.

The public is reminded that an indictment is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

 

Topic(s): 
Indian Country Law and Justice
Updated February 12, 2019