Former President of the Native Village of Tatitlek Arrested for Theft of Funds from an Indian Tribal Organization
|U.S. Attorney’s Office March 27, 2013|
ANCHORAGE—U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced today that an Anchorage woman was arrested today on allegations that she misapplied more than $200,000 of funds from the Native Village of Tatitlek for her personal use. Charges include that a $20,000 cash withdrawal of Tatitlek funds that she is alleged to have provided to her brother was also improperly misapplied.
On March 21, 2013, Lori “Sue” Johnson, 45 (married name now Lori Clum) of Anchorage, Alaska, was named in a four-count indictment with three counts of theft from an Indian Tribal Organization. Johnson’s brother, James Kramer, 47, of Valdez, Alaska, was named in one count of the indictment for theft from an Indian Tribal Organization.
The indictment alleges that Lori Johnson was voted out of office as president of the Native Village of Tatitlek in April 2008 but refused to acknowledge the election ousting her and maintained control over the village bank accounts until April 2009. During this time, it is alleged that she paid herself duplicate paychecks, took significant cash withdrawals, and wrote checks to herself totaling over $200,000. This amount included a $28,750 cash withdrawal she deposited into her personal bank account; a check for $19,500 that she wrote to herself and deposited into her personal bank account; and a $20,000 cash withdrawal that she gave to her brother James Kramer that he used for personal expenses.
The Native Village of Tatitlek receives the majority of its funding from federal sources including the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Health and Human Services.
Assistant United States Attorney Aunnie Steward, who presented the case to the grand jury, indicated that the law provides for a maximum sentence of five years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both on each count. Under the federal sentencing statutes, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendants.
The FBI and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Inspector General, with assistance from the IRS Criminal Investigations Division, conducted the investigation leading to the indictment in this case.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.