Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians of North Carolina


A former principal band chief Jonathan "Ed" Taylor will not serve any prison time after pleading guilty to tax evasion., Taylor, 59, was sentenced by a federal judge April 18 to six months of house arrest and three years of probation. Prosecutors accused Taylor of taking bribes and tax evasion while he was the elected leader of the 11,000-member tribe. Under a plea agreement, he could have been sentenced to five years and fined $100,000 for his guilty plea. He avoided prison time when the judge learned about his health problems, which include diabetes and hypertension. In the plea agreement, Taylor admitted he should have paid $47,895 in taxes in 1994 on income of more than $182,000. The government dismissed two other tax evasion counts. Taylor agreed to pay the back taxes. Federal indictments, dismissed, accused Taylor with taking bribes during 1993 and 1994 from a former manager of a reservation bingo hall. Prosecutors alleged $120,000 in loans from the woman to the Taylors in 1993 and 1994 were actually bribes. Cleo Taylor is charged with one count of perjury before the grand jury in connection with her testimony about the money. The pending perjury charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.