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Former Director of Domestic Violence Department Receiving DOJ Funds Sentenced for Theft from an Indian Tribal Organization


On December 19, 2022, the former Director of the Ponca Tribe Domestic Violence Department in Niobrara, Nebraska, which received funds from the DOJ’s Victims of Crime Act grant, was sentenced to 48 months of probation and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $19,431.57 and a fine of $10,000 for two counts of embezzlement and theft from an Indian tribal organization.  Andrea Rodriguez was sentenced in the District of Nebraska.  According to the factual statement in support of the guilty plea, from in or about July 2019 through in or about October 2020 Rodriguez was responsible for handling and providing final authorizations for the allocation of monies which the tribe received as part of the 2018 Victims of Crime Act grant.  During this time, she created false reimbursement requests indicating they were intended to pay for medical bills, grocery bills, and home furnishing and décor-related expenses for tribal domestic violence victims.  She then signed the final authorization for the reimbursement of these bills from tribal grant funds.  In truth, the bills being reimbursed were not expenses incurred by tribal domestic violence victims, but Rodriguez’s own personal bills.  In total, Rodriguez received approximately $19,431.57 in tribal funds from the scheme.  The investigation was conducted by the OIG’s Tucson Area Office and HHS OIG.

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