AP IMPACT: Audits show Indian tribes mishandle millions in fed funds, suffer few consequences
ETHETE, Wyo. (AP) — American Indian tribes have been caught misappropriating tens of millions of taxpayer dollars, according to internal tribal audits and other documents. But federal authorities do little about it — due to a lack of oversight, resources or political will.
The result? Poor tribes like the Northern Arapaho of Wyoming suffer.
One Arapaho manager pocketed money meant to buy meals for tribal elders. Another used funds from the reservation's diabetes program to subsidize personal shopping trips. And other members plundered the tribal welfare fund, then gambled the money away at one of the tribe's casinos.
Altogether, employees drained at least a half-million dollars from the coffers of a tribe whose members have a median household income of about $16,000 a year.
Federal agencies questioned millions more dollars the Northern Arapaho government spent, but decided not to recover any of the money — and even increased funding to the tribe.
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Posted on Tue, October 8, 2013