Shawnee Woman to Serve 24 Months in Prison and Pay More Than $251,000 in Restitution for Embezzlement from Citizen Potawatomi Nation
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK—KRISTI BIAS, 42, of Shawnee, Oklahoma, was sentenced this week by Chief United States District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange to serve 24 months in federal prison for embezzlement from the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, announced Sanford C. Coats, United States Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma. In addition, Chief Judge Miles-LaGrange ordered Bias to pay $251,018.35 in restitution to the tribe.
According to court records and information at court hearings, Bias was employed as the Executive Director of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s Community Development Corporation (CDC), which promoted economic development in the Native American community by providing loans and grants to companies owned by or which primarily employed members of federally-recognized Indian tribes. From December of 2010 and September of 2011, Bias was alleged to have caused grants to be issued to false or ineligible entities, falsified supporting documents, and received kickbacks for doing so.
In a related case, THOMAS BIERD, 35, also from Shawnee, was indicted on April 21, 2015, for his role in the embezzlement. Specifically, it was alleged that Bierd controlled an entity that received checks issued from CDC by Bias who, in turn, kicked back a portion of the proceeds to Bias. On September 3, 2015, Bierd pled guilty to embezzlement from the tribe and is currently awaiting sentencing.
Bias was charged by Information on November 7, 2014. Following her 24-month prison term, Bias is ordered to served three years of supervised release and pay $251,018.35 in restitution to the tribe.
This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Ogilvie.