Ex-Passamaquoddy finance director pleads not guilty to embezzling $20,000 from tribe

Posted May 19, 2014, at 12:15 p.m.
Charles Fourcloud
Washington County Jail
Charles Fourcloud

BANGOR, Maine — The man accused of stealing $20,000 from the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Pleasant Point entered not guilty pleas Monday to four federal charges of theft and embezzlement.

Charles Fourcloud, 59, is accused of embezzling the funds between May and August 2013 when he worked as finance director for the Washington County tribe and oversaw its $11 million budget, according to the federal complaint filed April 7. The document was sealed until Fourcloud’s arrest April 25 in California.

Foucloud, who has multiple aliases, was indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury for theft from an Indian tribal government and three counts of embezzlement and theft from an Indian tribal government. More than $5,000 of the stolen money allegedly was reimbursement for falsified travel expenses and $15,000 allegedly was reimbursement for falsified moving expenses.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Lowell, who is prosecuting the case, asked on Monday in U.S. District Court in Bangor that Fourcloud be detained. Fourcloud did not fight the detainment order and will be held in the custody of federal marshals until trial, scheduled for early July.

After U.S. District Judge John Woodcock deemed Fourcloud eligible for a court-appointed attorney and named Terrance Harrigan to represent him, he accepted Fourcloud’s pleas.

Fourcloud was described in a court document as a transient but told tribe officials when he was hired that he lived in San Jose, California, the federal complaint said.

The complaint listed five aliases used by Fourcloud: Arlynn E. Knudsen, Arlyn Knudson, Arlyn Eaglestar, Charles Johnson and Charles Eaglestar.

He was fired from his position in Pleasant Point on Sept. 24, a day after he was arrested and charged by local police with driving with a suspended California driver’s license, according to a previously published report. Fourcloud was released on bail on that charge.

Although tribal officials checked Fourcloud’s references, they did not conduct a criminal background check. When they did, his criminal past and aliases were uncovered, according to previous media reports.

The federal complaint alleges that Fourcloud falsified his work history and references when he applied for the job in Maine. Twelve days before he was fired, Fourcloud used his tribe email to apply for a position with the Sherwood Valley Band of Pomo Indians in California, the complaint said. In his resume, Fourcloud said he had worked for the Passamaquoddy tribe since September 2005.

Fourcloud also had pleaded guilty in 1997 to conspiracy, money laundering, income tax evasion and embezzlement in South Dakota, according to a previously published report. As vice president of business at Oglala Lakota College, he devised a scheme that enabled him and a handful of co-conspirators to embezzle about $2.66 million from the tribal college. He was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for those crimes.

If convicted in the latest case, Fourcloud faces up to 10 years in prison on the charge alleging the theft of $15,000 and up to five years in prison on each of the other three charges. He faces a fine of $250,000 on each charge. Fourcloud also could be ordered to pay restitution to the tribe if found guilty.

 

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