Federal Government
Cherokees And Choctaws Oppose Federal Recognition Of Lumbee Tribe By Federal Government PDF Print E-mail
Federal Government
By Administrator   
Wednesday, 25 November 2020 10:55

(Cherokee, North Carolina) – Richard Sneed, the Principal Chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, and Cyrus Ben, Tribal Chief of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, released the following letter to Congress opposing the Lumbee Recognition Act.  Other tribal leaders have expressed similar opposition, including the Cherokee Nation and the United South and Eastern Tribes(USET), representing over 30 tribes.  

Chiefs Ben and Sneed note in their letter that “For over a century, the Lumbees have claimed to be Cherokee, Croatan, Siouan, Cheraw, Tuscarora, and other unrelated tribes but have never been able to demonstrate any historical or genealogical tie to any historical tribe. Instead of demonstrating credible ties to historic tribes, they abandon one claim for another when challenges to their identity are asserted. H.R. 1964 would even prevent a serious review of the Lumbee claims that its current membership has Native American ancestry.” 

Chief Sneed commented on House passage of the legislation on Monday saying,  “Tribal recognition should not be granted when so much doubt and uncertainty remain over the Lumbees’ lineage and genealogy. It is dangerous to pass legislation that short-circuits an established process designed to protect Native American history and identity. That is exactly what H.R. 1964 does and we urge the Senate to reject this bill. “  

A copy of the letter is attached and below: 

Dear Speaker Pelosi and Leader McCarthy:  

We write to express our opposition to the Lumbee Recognition Act, legislation that would extend federal acknowledgment as a Tribal Nation to the Lumbees in North Carolina and circumvent the Office of Federal Acknowledgment (OFA) administrative process at the U.S. Department of the Interior.  

For over a century, the Lumbees have claimed to be Cherokee, Croatan, Siouan, Cheraw, Tuscarora, and other unrelated tribes but have never been able to demonstrate any historical or genealogical tie to any historic tribe. Instead of demonstrating credible ties to historic tribes, they abandon one claim for another when challenges to their identity are asserted. H.R. 1964 would even prevent a serious review of the Lumbee claims that its current membership has Native American ancestry.  

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has not scored this bill since 2011, when it issued a score of $847 million. Today, the cost of this bill exceeds $1 billion, which would have devastating impacts on Tribal Nations reliant upon federal health care, education, and other services provided through the Indian Health Service (IHS) and Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA).  

The consideration of this bill demonstrates this country’s broken politics in its relations with Tribal Nations. The Lumbee should pursue federal recognition through the OFA administrative process at the Department of Interior, where experts and procedures are in place, and not through an Act of Congress. With enormous need across Indian country related to the COVID-19 response, reacquisition of land, protection of natural resources, and protection of Native women and children, federal swing state politics has overwhelmed sound federal policy and the priorities of tribal governments with whom the United States has treaties and trust relations.  

We urge you and your respective members to vote no.  
 
Sincerely,

Richard Sneed 
Principal Chief, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians 
Cyrus Ben
Tribal Chief, Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians

 

 

 
Durham Attorney Charged With Bank Fraud PDF Print E-mail
Federal Government
By Administrator   
Tuesday, 24 November 2020 15:55

Durham Attorney Tiffany Dawn Russell, age 41, had her initial appearance today before Magistrate Judge Robert T. Numbers, II,  after a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging her, Rahne Cooper, age 31, and Darius Hinton, age 31, with conspiring to commit bank fraud and other related offenses. 

According to the indictment, Russell, Cooper and Hinton applied for loans and credit cards with social security numbers that were not issued to them by the Social Security Administration.  By doing so, the indictment alleges they created new credit profiles or synthetic identities for themselves to open financial accounts and make purchases from retailers without any intention of paying for the items and services obtained.  The indictment alleges, among other things, that Cooper, Hinton and Russell conspired to use fraudulently obtained Care Credit cards from Synchrony Bank to make payments to Dr. Curves, who performed Russell’s 2016 plastic surgery.  In addition to using a synthetic identity, the indictment also alleges that Russell falsely represented on credit applications that she resided in Florence, South Carolina when she was residing in the Eastern District of North Carolina.

Cooper, Hinton and Russell were also charged with multiple counts of bank fraud.  According to the indictment, Cooper and Russell used their synthetic identities to finance the purchase of vehicles and Hinton used his synthetic identity to purchase John Deere lawn equipment from Quality Equipment and electronics from Conn Credit Corporation.  Each was charged with unauthorized use of access devices and multiple counts of misuse of social security numbers.

If convicted, they face statutory maximum penalties for the conspiracy and each substantive bank fraud count of 30 years’ in prison, a $1,000,000 fine, restitution and forfeiture. 

Robert J. Higdon, Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service, Social Security Administration, and Raleigh Police Department have jointly investigated the case and Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan Menzer is prosecuting the case.

 
Man And Woman Sentenced To Federal Prison For Running Interstate Prostitution Ring PDF Print E-mail
Federal Government
By Administrator   
Tuesday, 24 November 2020 10:21
Federal Judge Terrence W. Boyle sentenced Daniel Phillip Griffin, 41, of Cleveland, Ohio, to 30 months’ imprisonment followed by 5 years’ supervised release for leading an interstate prostitution ring. Griffin previously pleaded guilty to one count of transporting a victim interstate to prostitute her. Judge Boyle previously sentenced Griffin’s codefendant, Starlett Lehti, 41, to 25 months’ imprisonment and 5 years’ supervised release for her role. Both defendants also were ordered to pay $10,000 in restitution.
 
Griffin and Lehti recruited three vulnerable women in Cleveland, Ohio, to prostitute for them. They manipulated the women to begin working for them, then transported the women to multiple states, ending up in Raleigh.

 

Griffin and Lehti used a combination of methods to keep the victims prostituting for them. Griffin often misled victims to believe their relationship was romantic. He and Lehti promised big money and belonging to a “family.” In reality, Griffin took all victims’ earnings. He often threatened or intimidated victims, telling one victim, when she said that she was done, “You’ll be done when I say you’re done.” Other victims called police in a bid to escape.
 
Robert J. Higdon, Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, stated, “Daniel Griffin and Starlett Lehti exploited some of our most-vulnerable citizens for their greed. They falsely promised victims the good life; in reality, they did not care what emotional scars they left in their wake. This case is part of our office’s ongoing effort to combat human trafficking and related offenses and to ensure justice for victims.”

 

Robert J. Higdon, Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement. Homeland Security Investigations and the Raleigh Police Department investigated the case.

 

 

 
Mexican Drug Lord Gets 15 Years In Federal Prison PDF Print E-mail
Federal Government
By Administrator   
Tuesday, 24 November 2020 09:59
 A Mexican national was sentenced today to 180 months’ imprisonment for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine (Count One); and possession with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine, and aiding and abetting (Count Two).
 
According to court documents and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Bernave Millan-Rascon, also known as “Berna,” 40 years old, was one of two leaders of an international cocaine trafficking organization based in Mexico. Millan-Rascon directed the shipment of multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine from Mexico into Texas, and then into other parts of the United States, including the Eastern District of North Carolina.
 
Agents conducted a wiretap investigation and seized 16 kilograms of cocaine, $173,100, and two firearms in Benson, North Carolina and Willow Spring, North Carolina. During the wiretap, agents recorded phone calls in which the Defendant directed the shipment of large amounts of cocaine into North Carolina.  The Defendant was extradited from Colombia, South America for prosecution in the Eastern District of North Carolina.
 
Three co-conspirators have previously been convicted and sentenced: Carlos Miranda Lopez (120 months’ imprisonment); Francisco Javier Rascon-Millan (12 months and 1-day imprisonment); and Malcolm Jamar Hird (120 months’ imprisonment).
 
Robert J. Higdon, Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, made the announcement after Chief United States District Judge Terrence W. Boyle sentenced Millan-Rascon. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Wilson Police Department, the Raleigh Police Department, the Rocky Mount Police Department, the Nash County Sheriff’s Office, and the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office assisted in this investigation.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott A. Lemmon prosecuted the case.
 
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