Niobrara Woman Sentenced for Theft in Indian Country
United States District Court Judge Joseph F. Bataillon sentenced Lila Mechaley, age 53 of Niobrara, Nebraska, upon her conviction for theft of funds on the Santee Sioux Indian Reservation. Judge Bataillon ordered Mechaley to serve five years of probation and to perform 200 hours of community service. Mechaley was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $16,726.22 to the Village of Santee.
Mechaley was the Village Clerk for the Village of Santee during the 2010 to 2012 timeframe. As the Village Clerk, Mechaley maintained possession of the checkbook utilized by the village and was the bookkeeper on the account. She also had signature authority on the account. Beginning in March of 2010 and continuing through June of 2012, Mechaley wrote unauthorized checks to herself totaling $16,726.22. Although the Village of Santee required two signatures on all checks, Mechaley signed the checks in her capacity as Village Clerk and she also forged the signature of the Chairman of the Village Board. The theft of funds was discovered by the Vice President of the Village Board when he gathered bank statements and cancelled checks in order to provide information relating to a grant which had been awarded to the Village of Santee.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.