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Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, California

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A federal grand jury indicted the brother of the band's chief executive officer Nov. 30 for allegedly embezzling more than $500,000 from the Coachella Valley tribe. Robert Moses Nichols, 46, if Yucca Valley, was indicted on nine counts of embezzlement and one count of theft, Assistant U.S. Attorney Elliot Krieger said. A federal court was expected to issue a summons setting a date for Nichols to surrender to authorities. Although reservations are considered sovereign nations, the federal government may prosecute crimes on reservation property, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney said. Nichols is the brother of tribal CEO Mark Nichols who has not been accused of wrongdoing. From 1996 to 1999 he was card room manager at the tribe's Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio. In 1999 he was promoted to director of gaming operations but was fired less than a month later. While working at the casino Nichols allegedly presented hundreds of bogus payout slips to the card room cashier. Krieger said the slips requested payment for casino promotional events and gaming tournament expenses already paid, adding Nichols pocketed the money. Although the case was filed in Los Angeles, it may be heard in Riverside.

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