A final sentence has been handed down as federal prosecutors wrap up a case against former Omaha Tribal Council members and employees who siphoned off federal funds intended to go toward health care into their own pockets.
United States Attorney Joe Kelly has announced that former tribal council member 44-year-old Doran Morris, Jr. has been sentenced to five years’ probation and ordered to perform 200 hours of community service, the same sentenced as that given to eight others involved in the scheme.
Morris also has been ordered to repay the $13,404.44 given to him as a bonus.
The federal indictment against the nine tribal members accused them of paying nearly $400,000 in bonuses and incentives in a nearly $9 million federal health contract, rather than spending the money on tribal health care.
Federal prosecutors say the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska filed Contract Disputes Act claims against the Indian Health Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Claims filed in 2005 and 2012 asked for reimbursement of unpaid contract support costs from 1995 to 2011. Total claims reached approximately $8.9 million.
The federal indictment claims the defendants paid a total of $388,792.44 in bonuses and incentives to themselves and several other tribal employees in October of 2012, even though claims against the Indian Health Service weren’t resolved until late 2015. The money came from carryover funds from the 2012 Fiscal Year contract with IHS.
Prosecutors says the money was supposed to be used to provide health care to Omaha Tribe members through the Carl T. Curtis Health Education Center.
Former tribal chair, 57-year-old Amen Sheridan, and former councilmembers 70-year-old Mitchell Parker, 54-year-old Jeff Miller, 64-year-old Rodney Morris, 68-year-old Forrest Aldrich, and 49-year-old Tillie Aldrich as well as former tribal employees 48-year-old Jessica Webster and 66-year-old Barbara Freemont were sentenced earlier.