Former Pawnee Nation employee to pay restitution in embezzlement case
BY DAVID HARPER World Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
A former Pawnee Nation program coordinator was sentenced Wednesday to three years of probation after pleading guilty in June to a federal theft charge.
Frances L. Roughface was ordered by U.S. District Judge James Payne to serve the first six months of probation while under house arrest.
Payne also announced that Roughface is to pay $26,226 in restitution as part of the sentence.
Roughface, 47, pleaded guilty June 15 in Tulsa federal court. She admitted that she embezzled and stole money from the tribe’s Child Care Center and that she misapplied Walmart gift cards under the control of the Pawnee Nation’s Indian Child Welfare program.
In a May 9 indictment, Roughface was accused of leading the tribe to believe that she spent tribal funds on Walmart gift cards for the benefit of families and children in crisis when she actually used them to purchase Michelob beer, iPods, cosmetics, clothing and other items for herself.
Roughface was employed as the Pawnee Nation’s Indian Child Welfare and Child Care Center coordinator, the indictment says.
She embezzled Child Care Center funds by putting them in a personal bank account instead of into a tribal account, a grand jury alleged.
Roughface stipulated in her plea agreement that she “abused a position of trust” during the crime, which spanned from October 2005 until December 2009.
During Wednesday’s hearing, Roughface described herself as “a Christian woman who somehow lost her way.” She told the court that she found herself in a bad financial situation, chose the wrong way to deal with it and is now “full of remorse and shame” over it.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Clinton Johnson told the court that — after consulting with tribal officials — the prosecution had no objection to probation being imposed.
Roughface would face as much as 10 years in prison if her probation is revoked, Payne said.