Tahlequah Man Sentenced for Stealing Tribal Funds
|U.S. Attorney’s Office December 29, 2009|
MUSKOGEE, OK—Sheldon J. Sperling, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, announced today that EARB KIMBLE, age 44, of Tahlequah, Oklahoma, was sentenced to one year and one day followed by 24 months of supervised release for Theft Concerning Programs Receiving Federal Funds, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Section 666. He was also fined $15,000.00.
Charges arose from an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of the Inspector General. KIMBLE was indicted in April 2009, and pled guilty in June, 2009.
The Indictment alleged that from about April 19, 2002, until approximately June 29, 2004, KIMBLE embezzled, obtained by fraud, misapplied and willfully and knowingly converted to his own use, in excess of $5,000.00, monies, funds and credits owned by or under the custody or control of the United Keetoowah Band.
At sentencing Kimble’s attorney argued that he should receive a sentence of probation only or a split sentence based largely on the fact that he had “exceptionally” accepted responsibility. The defendant’s attorney argued that the court should consider his payment in full of $67,270.00 in restitution as a part of the defendant’s “exceptional” acceptance. The government pointed out that justice is not for sale. The court ruled that the defendant had not exceptionally accepted responsibility and should be held accountable for his actions.
The defendant also argued that his status as the only loan processor in the area who is fluent in the Cherokee language should require his release because incarceration would be detrimental to the community. However, the government pointed out that the defendant would then be in a special position to take advantage of others with no one else who was capable of reviewing his activity.
At the time of the crime, KIMBLE was Director of the United Keetoowah Band Housing Authority, an agency of an Indian tribal government. During the years of 2002, 2003, and 2004, the time of the offenses, this agency received in excess of $10,000 under a federal program, the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination, an Indian Housing Block Grant.
The Honorable Ronald A. White, District Judge in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, in Muskogee, presided over today’s hearing.
KIMBLE was ordered to report to the Bureau of Prisons on January 21, 2009. The federal prison will be designated by the Bureau of Prisons prior to the report date.
Assistant United States Attorney Dean Burris represented the United States.