|By Dave Altimari, The Hartford
CourantMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Jan. 04, 2013--The former head of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council, which runs Foxwoods Resort Casino, and its current treasurer were indicted Friday by federal authorities on charges they embezzled money from tribe.
Michael Thomas and Steven Thomas will appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joan G. Margolis in New Haven on Monday. They are brothers.
Michael Thomas was the former chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council. He is accused of stealing more than $100,000 between Oct. 2007 through April 2009.
Steven Thomas, 38, was sworn in as the treasurer of the tribal council Friday at a ceremony attended by Lt, Gov. Nancy Wyman at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center.
Federal authorities allege that while he was the assistant director of the Mashantucket Pequot's Natural Resources Protection Department from 2005 through 2008, he stole more than $730,000 in tribal funds and federal grant money.
Michael Thomas, 44, served as the chairman of the tribal council from 2002-2009 and was ousted from the council in 2009 as the tribe's financial situation turned dire and large payments from casino revenues that tribal members came to expect shriveled up due to financial problems.
In 2010, the tribe defaulted on a $2.3 million debt accrued mostly during his tenure. Michael Thomas ran for a tribal council seat last year and lost.
The indictment alleges that Michael Thomas "did embezzle, steal, obtain by fraud or intentionally misapply" tribal council funds as well as funds that the tribe received in grants from the federal government. The indictment does not identify the grants.
The indictment also seeks the forfeiture of two Apple computers from Michael Thomas.
Steven Thomas was elected to the tribal council in 2009 after serving for 15 years in other positions for the tribe, according to the Pequot's website.
He was the assistant director of the Natural Resources Protection Department from 1996 through 2008. It was during the last three years in that job that federal authorities allege he stole money from the council as well as from federal grants the tribe received.
The indictment alleges that over a two-year period, Steven Thomas stole more than $10,000 from separate grants from the U.S. Department of Interior.
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