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White Earth Band of Minnesota Chippewa

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Roderick Bernard HighElk, 57, of White Earth, former director of the Tribal Employment Rights Office, was charged with 15 felony counts and one misdemeanor count of embezzlement and theft from an Indian Tribal Organization. An FBI investigation led to HighElk's arrest June 12. A grand jury alleged in an indictment that from May 1999 to July 2000, HighElk diverted about $70,200 the tribal office received from a casino as reimbursement for part-time and temporary employees. HighElk allegedly deposited the checks into a bank account for which he had the only access. The indictment alleged that HighElk used the proceeds for his personal use. If convicted, HighElk faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each felony count.

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