Former tribal program director faces embezzlement charges
BY DAVID HARPER World Staff Writer
Thursday, May 10, 2012
5/10/12 at 5:05 PM
A former Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma tribal program coordinator was arrested and arraigned Thursday on federal charges of embezzling tribal funds.
Frances L. Roughface, 47, of Pawnee was indicted in Tulsa federal court on charges alleging the embezzlement and theft of more than $33,000 from various tribal programs from October 2005 through December 2009.
Roughface was employed as the Pawnee Nation’s Indian Child Welfare and Child Care Center coordinator during that time, the indictment says.
A grand jury alleges that she embezzled more than $26,000 of the tribe’s Child Care Center funds by reporting that she was collecting and depositing the money into a tribal bank account while she was actually putting the funds in a personal account.
Roughface is accused of leading the tribe to believe that she spent at least $7,220 of tribal funds on Walmart gift cards for the benefit of families and children in crisis situations when she allegedly used the cards to purchase beer, iPods, cosmetics, clothing and other items for herself.
The charges are the product of an investigation by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of the Inspector General.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Trent Shores said Roughface was arrested Thursday in the Pawnee area and was brought to Tulsa for her arraignment. She was released on bond.
Both Shores and Charles Lone Chief, vice-president of the Pawnee Nation Business Council, said the tribe has improved its financial oversight procedures.
A press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office says Roughface could be sentenced to as much as 10 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000. However, Shores said that under sentencing guidelines that appear to apply, she would probably face about two years in prison if convicted.