Passamaquoddy Tribe fires finance director who hid criminal history

Posted Oct. 03, 2013, at 6:10 p.m.
Charles Fourcloud, aka Arlynn Knudsen
Washington County Jail
Charles Fourcloud, aka Arlynn Knudsen

PLEASANT POINT, Maine — The Passamaquoddy Tribe at the Pleasant Point Reservation fired its finance director after tribal officials learned he lied on an employment application and had been imprisoned for embezzlement, says Chief Clayton Cleaves.

Charles Fourcloud, who has a different birth name and apparently has used other names, also is under investigation by the tribe’s police force, Cleaves said Thursday.

According to tribal police, the director’s birth name was Arlynn E. Knudsen, who pleaded guilty in 1997 to conspiracy, money laundering, income tax evasion and embezzlement. Federal court documents indicate that Knudsen, as vice president of business at Oglala Lakota College in South Dakota, devised the scheme that enabled him and a handful of co-conspirators to embezzle about $2.66 million from the tribal college.

Now, Pleasant Point tribal police and officials are investigating the Passamaquoddys’ finances. When Fourcloud was hired last spring, he was put in charge of the tribe’s $11 million budget.

There is no indication of wrongdoing at this point, said Cleaves, who terminated Fourcloud’s employment on Sept. 24, a day after he was charged by local police with driving on a suspended California driver’s license.

“I fired him because of the false information contained in his application” and for misleading tribal leaders, said Cleaves.

“We’re in the process” of examining all tribal financial accounts for any indication of improprieties, said Cleaves.

“We do have checks and balances,” he added.

While tribal officials checked his references, they did not conduct a background check before hiring Fourcloud.

They did so, however, after Fourcloud began raising suspicions among tribal members by telling conflicting stories about his past. More suspicions were aroused when he requested that his name and photograph be omitted from the tribe’s newsletter and website.

The criminal background check, using Fourcloud’s Social Security number, revealed many aliases and his criminal past, Pleasant Point Police Chief Pos Bassett told the Portland Press Herald.

“He has legally changed his name multiple times, and it seems that he doesn’t want to be the same person for more than a year,” Bassett told the newspaper. “We’re still trying to tie up the loose ends of this guy’s past because he seems to be doing this in multiple towns all across the U.S. using different names.”

Fourcloud and Arlynn E. Knudsen are the same person, according to Bassett.

Fourcloud is scheduled to appear on the misdemeanor driving violation on Nov. 5 in Calais District Court.

Knudsen was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for his crimes against Ogala Lakota College, located on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

In the 1990s, Knudsen and his co-conspirators stole $2.66 million from the college by setting up bogus companies that were paid for supplies and services they never delivered, according to a New York Times report from 1997.

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