FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nov. 28, 2018
Former Kellyville Indian Community Treasurer Convicted of Embezzling $40,000 from the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Chartered Community
TULSA, Okla. – On Nov. 26, Muscogee (Creek) citizen, Linda Kay Buchanan, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to one felony count of embezzlement in excess of $1,000 from an Indian tribal organization, while serving as treasurer of the Kellyville Indian Community.
The Kellyville Indian Community is one of Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s 25 chartered communities located within Creek County.
The 51-year-old Kellyville resident was convicted in the U.S District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma in Tulsa, Okla., for embezzling more than $40,000 from the Kellyville Indian Community’s general fund account between December 2014 and February 2018.
The charge was filed Oct. 15, 2018 and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Shannon Cozzoni as the result of a joint investigation between the MCN Attorney General’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation after criminal activity was discovered.
The MCN AG’s Office provided the following statement:
“Our Office has a strong working relationship with our federal partners and we are appreciative of all of the assistance and hard work on the part of the FBI and Assistant U.S. Attorney Shannon Cozzoni.
We will continue to work collaboratively to ensure that those who steal from the Muscogee (Creek) Nation are held accountable for their actions.”
According to the MCN AG’s Office, after Buchanan was removed as treasurer, MCN conducted an audit of the finances she controlled. The audit’s findings were then turned over to the MCN AG’s Investigator who discovered Buchanan had illegally written checks to herself from the Kellyville Indian Community bank account.
Buchanan was represented by court appointed counsel, Federal Public Defender Stephen J. Greubel, as she waived her right to a jury trial and pleaded guilty before Chief District Judge Gregory K. Frizzell during her Nov. 26 court appearance.
In Buchanan’s guilty plea, she admitted to intentionally embezzling, stealing and knowingly converting money to her own use.
“Muscogee (Creek) Nation made monthly payments to the Kellyville Indian Community in the form of rent for use of a building. After the monthly checks were deposited into the Kellyville Indian Community bank account at American Heritage Bank, I would cause a check to issue payable either to myself or to cash in order to convert that money to my personal use,” as stated in Buchanan’s guilty plea.
The court accepted the plea and Buchanan was convicted of the charge, which by law, holds a maximum punishment of five years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine and three years supervision upon release from prison. Buchanan could also be required by the court to pay restitution.
Buchanan is scheduled to be sentenced in U.S. District Court Feb. 27, 2019 at 1:30 p.m.