Current And Former Tribal Officials Charged With Stealing From The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation
Hartford – David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that a federal grand jury sitting in Hartford has returned two separate indictments charging STEVEN THOMAS, 38, and MICHAEL THOMAS, 44, each with one count of theft from an Indian tribal organization and two counts of theft from an Indian tribal government receiving federal funds. STEVEN THOMAS is the current Treasurer of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council, and MICHAEL THOMAS is the former Chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council.
The indictment against STEVEN THOMAS alleges that, from January 2005 through June 2008, he stole Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation (“MPTN”) funds while he was the Assistant Director of MPTN’s Department of Natural Resources Protection.
The indictment against MICHAEL THOMAS alleges that, from October 2007 through April 2009, he stole MPTN funds while serving as the Chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council.
If convicted of stealing from an Indian tribal organization, both men face a maximum term of imprisonment of five years and a fine of up to $250,000. If convicted of stealing from an Indian tribal government receiving federal funds, both men face a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000 on each count.
The indictments also include forfeiture allegations. If convicted, STEVEN THOMAS faces forfeiture of approximately $739,743.64, and MICHAEL THOMAS faces forfeiture of $102,393.34 and two personal computers.
The defendants are scheduled to appear before United States Magistrate Judge Joan G. Margolis in New Haven on Monday, January 7, at 3:45 p.m.
U.S. Attorney Fein stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and United States Department of Interior – Office of Inspector General. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Christopher Mattei.