Pascua Yaqui Tribe of Arizona


As expected, A former official of the Pascua Yaqui tribe was sentenced to 41/2 in prison for embezzling and laundering $1.8 million belonging to the tribe. Edward Caywood, one of four officials involved in the scam, also was ordered to pay at least $475,000 in restitution. Defense attorney Mike Piccarreta said Caywood has repaid about that amount. The penalty is "as fair as we can expect,'' tribal chairman Benito Felix Valencia said following the March 22 sentencing. Caywood, 55, admitted convincing co-conspirators James Warner and Peter Lazary to set up fraudulent companies in 1995 and 1996, when Caywood was the tribe's procurement director. Caywood then sent tribal money to the companies and had the money funneled back to him. He also admitted making out false purchase orders to companies and receiving kickbacks. Investigators found $379,000 buried in the yard of Caywood's Tucson residence Peter Pierides, then the tribe's finance director, faces trial June 6 on charges of conspiracy, embezzlement and money laundering. Warner and Lazary entered guilty pleas and are to be sentenced April 6. The four are among defendants in a civil lawsuit brought by the tribe.