Former Tribal Police Chief Indicted for Embezzling Tribal Funds
Used Money Paid to Police Department for Personal Benefit; Abused Expense Reimbursement Program
The former Police Chief of the Swinomish Tribe was indicted today by the grand jury for six counts of wire fraud and four counts of theft of tribal funds, announced Acting United States Attorney Annette L. Hayes. THOMAS J. SCHLICKER, 57, of Stanwood, Washington, served as the Swinomish Police Chief from 1997 until September 2014, when his employment was terminated. SCHLICKER is scheduled to appear for arraignment next week.
According to the indictment, between 2008 and 2014, SCHLICKER is alleged to have embezzled more than $30,000 from the tribe. SCHLICKER allegedly set up a secret bank account in the name of the Swinomish Police Department without the knowledge of the tribal accounting department. The indictment alleges that SCHLICKER then deposited checks made out to the tribal police into the secret account and withdrew the proceeds in cash, which he then used for his own purposes. Some of the money deposited in the account came from the sale of vehicles seized and sold by the Tribal Police. The indictment also alleges SCHLICKER used the Tribe’s Chevron/Texaco credit card to purchase gas for his and his family members’ personal vehicles. Finally, the indictment alleges that SCHLICKER turned in paperwork asking to be reimbursed for the purchase of a uniform shirt, when in fact the charge was for an entry fee at a golf tournament.
Wire fraud is punishable by up to twenty years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Theft of tribal funds is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The charges contained in the indictment are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The case was investigated by the FBI and the Washington State Patrol. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Seth Wilkinson and Ye-Ting Woo.