Ex-Mississippi Choctaw tribal leader, wife admit to money laundering

Published 10:16 pm Friday, February 12, 2021

A second former official of a Mississippi Indian tribe and his wife have pleaded guilty in connection with faked travel costs.

Kevin Edwards, 48, and Sheena Edwards, 45, of Walnut Grove, pleaded guilty on Thursday to conspiring to launder money and are scheduled for sentencing May 11 in Jackson, federal prosecutors said in a news release Friday.

An indictment handed up in September also had charged the couple with defrauding the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians while Kevin Edwards was a member of the tribal council, and with misleading a bank to get loans, prosecutors said.

“As long as public corruption continues to be an issue in our state, I can promise you that the U.S. Attorney’s Office will be here to root it out, prosecute it, and ensure that justice is done,” Acting U.S. Attorney Darren LaMarca said in the news release.

Another former tribal council member, Randy Lamar Anderson, 46, of Conehatta, pleaded guilty in December to federal wire fraud by forging hotel bills and receipts and submitting them for tribal reimbursement between August 2016 and November 2018. His sentencing is scheduled March 3.

Anderson and the Edwardses each could get as much as 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to prosecutors.

The news release said the Edwardses were accused of forging hotel bills and receipts and submitting them as reimbursement for business travel. The actions allegedly took place between March 2015 and June 2017, the month Kevin Edwards left office, the statement said.

“After receiving the unlawful payments from the tribal government, the two defendants cashed and transferred the payments to multiple bank accounts and paid off personal loans in the name of Sheena Edwards,” the news release said.