Former Kellyville Indian Community treasurer ordered to repay funds

Former Kellyville Indian Community treasurer ordered to repay funds
(MN file Photo)Former Kellyville Indian Community Treasurer ordered to repay more than $38,000 in stolen funds to the community after sentencing Feb 27.

Angel Ellis/Reporter

Buchanan sentenced in federal courts for embezzlement

TULSA, Oklahoma — Linda K. Buchanan appeared before U.S. Chief Judge Gregory Frizzell of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma on Feb. 27 for sentencing. Buchanan was sentenced to five years probation, six months of in-home detention, $100.00 special monetary assessment and to pay back $38,843.22.

Buchanan plead guilty to one count of  level 4 felony of embezzlement. Represented by Stephen Greubel, a designated public defender appointed to her case, Buchanan addressed the court and answered for the crimes.

“I’m really nervous, but I want to apologize for my actions,” Buchanan said.  “I realize now I should have sought help before.”

She said her theft was a result of a gambling addiction for which she had been seeking treatment.

Chief Judge Frizzell read the court the typical sentencing guide for the level of crime and money taken in the case.

“I typically, with this size of money, put people in jail,” Frizzell said.

He questioned Buchanan questions about her ability to repay the funds, her income, the treatment she received and her husband’s possible gambling habits.

On Feb. 14, Buchanan’s attorney submitted a sentencing memorandum explaining her addiction and the steps she’s taken to address the problem.  It requested consideration for Buchanan’s circumstances that might qualify her a lesser sentence.

According to the memorandum, ‘Buchanan had no other criminal history and no drug dependency concerns.’

‘Once the embezzlement was discovered, Defendant Buchanan was cooperative and fully accepted responsibility for her criminal offense,”documents stated.

The documents argued the recommended sentence would allow Buchanan to maintain her job of 18 years, giving the victim of the crime the best opportunity to be reimbursed.

Immediately following her separation with the Kellyville Indian Community Buchanan found the organization had mistakenly continued to send her checks. She immediately called investigators and turned them over.

According to a release by the U.S. Attorney’s for the Northern District of Oklahoma, ‘The Kellyville Indian Community discovered Buchanan’s illegal activity as they removed her as treasurer.’

‘When board members tried to access monies from the general account that Buchanan was formerly responsible for, they discovered there were insufficient funds,’ the release said.

This prompted the investigation into finances where the method by which she obtained the funds was discovered.

According to the release Buchanan had ‘illegally written checks made out to herself and to cash for her personal use during her time as treasurer.’

Sentencing guidelines for the crime indicate Buchanan could have faced a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised released.

These facts along with Buchanan’s steady employment, her agreement to be charged by information and voluntary appearance for arraignment were all considered by the court.

Buchanan was ordered to meet with a probation officer immediately following the proceedings.

According to Chief Judge Frizzell, if Buchanan is found to have violated orders to stay away from gambling institutions, is found in possession of a firearm or cannot for any reason make repayment of the funds, she would face jail time.

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