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Wisconsin tribe accused of embezzling could face $5.5M fines

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MILWAUKEE (AP) — The National Indian Gaming Commission has proposed fining the St. Croix Chippewa $5.5 million over accusations that the Wisconsin tribe’s leaders pocketed at least $1.5 million in casino funds.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that the commission’s chairman, Jonodev Chaudhuri, issued a notice of the proposed fines on Thursday. It comes a month after Chaudhuri charged the tribe with 527 violations of federal and tribal ordinances.

The maximum fine for the alleged violations would be $27.7 million.

Chaudhuri says the tribal leaders’ actions were “egregious” given the tribe’s precarious financial situation. Many members of the Burnett County-based tribe live in poverty.

Regulators say some of the funds were used for trips to Hawaii and Las Vegas.

The tribe can appeal the recommended fine to commissioners.

Photo courtesy National Indian Gaming Commission website..

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