Former Yankton Sioux Tribe’s police chief charged with fraud

December 7, 2022 GMT

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — The former police chief of the Yankton Sioux Tribe in South Dakota has been charged by federal prosecutors with wire fraud and theft from the tribe.

Federal prosecutors allege that Chris Saunsoci sought wages both from the tribe and a local ministry that was providing flood relief. He allegedly held both positions between September 2020 and 2021 and sought wages for overlapping hours on 139 days. He was paid about $30,500 for both jobs on those days, according to court documents.

Saunsoci is also being charged with misusing an SUV that belonged to the tribe this year, the U.S. Attorney’s office for South Dakota said.

Saunsoci pleaded not guilty to the charges in November after he was indicted by a federal grand jury. An attorney appointed to represent him did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

He faces 18 counts of wire fraud and two counts of theft from the tribe. The wire fraud charges carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal custody, while the theft charges carry a maximum sentence of five years in custody.