Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Crime: Employee pleads guilty to embezzling from Jircarilla Apache Nation.

U.S. Attorney’s Office 
District of New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE—Robert G. Wells, 63, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, pleaded guilty this morning to embezzlement and theft from an Indian tribal organization, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Steven C. Yarbrough, Special Agent in Charge Carol K.O. Lee of the FBI’s Albuquerque Division, and Chief Kendall Vicenti of the Jicarilla Apache Tribal Police Department.

Wells was arrested in November 2013 on a three-count indictment charging him with embezzling an aggregate of $214,594.13 from the Jicarilla Apache Nation’s Utility Authority between July 2011 and October 2011. Wells, a non-Indian, previously had been employed by the Jicarilla Apache Nation as the comptroller for the tribe’s Utility Authority.

During this morning’s proceedings, Wells pled guilty to all three counts of the indictment and admitted embezzling money from a Wells Fargo Bank account belonging to the Jicarilla Apache Nation’s Utility Authority through an unauthorized withdrawal and two unauthorized transfers. In his plea agreement, Wells admitted stealing money from the tribe’s bank account on the following three occasions: $500 in July 2011, $92,331 in August 2011, and $121,763 in October 2011.

Wells remains on conditions of release pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled. Under the terms of his plea agreement, Wells will be sentenced to a term of probation. Wells also will be required to pay $214,594.13 in restitution to the Jicarilla Apache Nation.

This case was investigated by the Albuquerque Field Office of the FBI and the Jicarilla Apache Tribal Police Department and is being prosecuted by Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Glynette R. Carson McNabb.