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Goshute is ordered to repay stolen funds

She gets probation for taking money from tribal account

The second of three members of the Skull Valley Band of Goshutes has been ordered by a federal judge to repay funds taken from a tribal bank account with the help of an attorney and a fictitious court order.

Marlinda Moon was sentenced to one year probation by U.S. District Judge Tena Campbell for her role in taking funds out of a Zions Bank account belonging to the Goshutes.

Moon was also ordered to pay back $13,825 for her share of restitution to Zions Bank, which has already settled with the Goshutes in paying back the funds.

Moon becomes the second out of three band members who pleaded guilty earlier this year to the theft of funds.

Last August, Sammy Blackbear was ordered to pay back $17,300 to the bank.

Miranda Wash, who also appeared in court Monday, is expected to be ordered to pay back $8,000 in restitution. However, Campbell postponed her sentencing for a month to allow Wash time to resolve several warrants out of justice courts in Murray and South Salt Lake. Campbell said if Wash cannot resolve the warrants by Jan. 3, she will sentence Wash to federal prison instead of probation.

The group's attorney, Duncan Steadman, pleaded guilty to stealing some $11,000 from the bank. He is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 6.

Federal prosecutors say the group used a fake court order declaring them elected band officials entitled to access the account. The group did use funds for official tribal business, however, there were indications the group gave itself a monthly stipend from the funds as well.

The three band members claim they took the funds out of frustration with Skull Valley Goshute Band chairman Leon Bear, who they allege was withholding their federal tribal dividends because they were political opponents. An attorney for Moon and Wash said the stipend was intended to compensate for their dividends.

Bear is known for his proposal to store high-level nuclear waste on the band's reservation.

The controversial chairman was sentenced in federal court himself last June to pay the IRS $13,101 in unpaid taxes and the Goshute Band $31,500 for duplicate stipends he billed the tribe. Bear was also placed on three years probation.

Recently, Bear canceled tribal elections for the fourth time this year. Bear's term as chairman expired last year.

Bear is expected to be back in federal court today, asking the court for more time in trying to settle his debts with the IRS.


E-mail: gfattah@desnews.com