Former Pawnee Nation official sentenced to probation for embezzlement
BY DAVID HARPER World Staff Writer
Thursday, September 27, 2012
9/27/12 at 6:34 AM
A former Pawnee Nation program coordinator was sentenced Wednesday to three years of probation after she pleaded 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 under house arrest and to pay $26,226 in restitution.
Roughface pleaded guilty June 15 in federal court in Tulsa. She admitted that she embezzled money from the tribe's Child Care Center and the Pawnee Nation's Indian Child Welfare program.
In a May 9 indictment, Roughface, 47, 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 buy 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 acknowledged in her plea agreement that she "abused a position of trust" 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 will face as much as 10 years in prison if her probation is revoked, Payne said.
Original Print Headline: Ex-tribal official gets probation
David Harper 918-581-8359