(CN) – A former tribal program coordinator for the Pawnee Nation was indicted on charges of embezzling more than $33,000 in tribal funds meant for families in crisis that federal prosecutors say she spent on beer, iPods and cosmetics.
Francie Roughface, 47, of Pawnee, Okla., was indicted Thursday in federal court in Tulsa, Okla. on one count of theft concerning programs receiving federal funds and two counts of embezzlement and theft from an Indian tribal organization. She was the coordinator of the Pawnee Nation’s Indian Child Welfare program and its Child Care Center from 2005 to 2009.
During that time, Roughface stole over $7,200 in Walmart gift cards belonging to the Indian Child Welfare program and over $26,000 belonging to the Child Care Center, according to the indictment.
“Defendant Roughface was a public official who owed the Pawnee Nation a general duty of loyalty, honesty, integrity and faithfulness,” the indictment states.
Prosecutors said Roughface submitted purchase order forms for the gift cards and then used herself to buy Michelob beer, several iPods, cosmetics and clothing, among other things. They said she tricked the Pawnee Nation into believing she was depositing the Child Care Center’s money into a tribal account, when she was really depositing it into her personal bank account.
Roughface faces up to ten years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.
“This case demonstrates the Department of Justice’s commitment to prosecute crimes in Indian Country, and hold accountable public officials and employees who abuse their positions of trust to personally profit,” said Scott Woodward, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma. “Those individuals who would embezzle and steal tribal funds, especially funds intended for children and families in crisis, are on notice that they will be investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
The Indian Child Welfare program provides family crisis services to nation members, including preventative casework intervention, family reunification, adoption, permanent placement and counseling services. The Child Care Center provides nation members daycare and after-school care.
The Pawnee Nation has more than 2,500 enrolled members, according to its website.