Former Tribal Employee Embezzled and Stole More Than $270,000 in Tribal Funds
PHOENIX—Holley Faye Youvella, 34, of San Carlos, Arizona, pleaded guilty today to embezzlement of tribal funds in federal district court in Phoenix.
In the course of Youvella’s guilty plea, she admitted that between October 2008 and March 2010, while serving as a bookkeeper for Peridot Shopping Center Inc., she embezzled approximately $268,106 of the shopping center’s money. Youvella cashed approximately 237 fraudulent checks drawn from the shopping center’s checking account. The checks were made out to Youvella or to a member of her family. Peridot Shopping Center Inc. is a San Carlos Apache Tribal Organization.
Youvella also admitted that between June 2010 and August 2010, she stole approximately $4,301 by directing multiple fraudulent electronic payments from the shopping center’s checking account to personal credit and utility accounts containing balances owed by Youvella and a family member.
A conviction for embezzlement of tribal funds carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both. In determining an actual sentence, U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Martone will consult the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide appropriate sentencing ranges. The judge, however, is not bound by those guidelines in determining a sentence.
Youvella is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Martone on October 15, 2012, at 3:30 p.m.
The investigation preceding the indictment was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the San Carlos Apache Tribal Police Department. The prosecution is being handled by Frederick A. Battista, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Phoenix.