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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Utah

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Complaint Filed Seeking A Civil Injunction Against Group Calling Itself The Uinta Valley Shoshone Tribe

Action Seeks to Stop Defendants From Selling Hunting and Fishing Licenses on Uintah and Ouray Reservation

SALT LAKE CITY -- The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Salt Lake City filed a civil complaint Wednesday morning against a group that calls itself the “Uinta Valley Shoshone Tribe (UVST)” and three of its officers seeking an injunction to stop what the United States believes to be wire fraud. 


The law allows the United States to seek a civil injunction to stop wire fraud while it is conducting further investigations.  The United States seeks to enjoin the defendants from selling hunting and fishing licenses that purportedly give hunters and anglers the right to hunt and fish on the Uintah and Ouray Reservation.  The Ute Tribe is the only tribal entity authorized to issue hunting and fishing licenses within the reservation.  The Uinta Valley Shoshone Tribe is not recognized by the United States and has no legal authority over the lands or resources within the Uintah and Ouray Reservation. 


Named in the complaint against the UVST are Dora Van, chairwoman; Ramona Harris, director; and Leo LeBaron, wildlife director; and others who are working in active concert with the defendants to issue and use hunting and fishing licenses on Ute Tribal land over which the UVST has no jurisdiction.  The Ute Tribe has not delegated any of its authority over fish and wildlife to the defendants in the case.


According to the complaint, in late September 2016, Ute Fish and Wildlife officers and Utah Division of Wildlife Resources officers began receiving information regarding the UVST selling hunting and fishing licenses for their purported members’ use in taking wildlife from Ute Tribal Trust Lands of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation.  UVST sells these licenses for $25, the complaint alleges.  On the license application form, the defendants list a website and an email address for the UVST, and falsely state that the UVST is “a Federal Corporation d/b/a the ‘Ute Indian Tribe” of the Uinta and Ouray Reservations, Utah.”  Some of those who have obtained licenses from UVST have used them to take deer, elk, and fish from the Ute Tribal Lands.  The defendants have erected “No Trespass” signs on Ute Tribal Trust Lands and, according to the complaint, informed those who buy licenses that the Ute Tribal Trust Lands actually belong to the UVST and no entity can prevent licensees from hunting or fishing on those lands.


The civil action filed today asks the federal court to declare that the defendants have engaged in wire fraud by selling the licenses, preliminarily and permanently enjoin the defendants from selling or issuing hunting and fishing licenses, declare that the UVST hunting and fishing licenses that have been issued are null and void, preliminarily and permanently enjoin the use of licenses that have been issued, and award any other relief that the Court deems appropriate.

Indian Country Law and Justice
Updated October 18, 2017