Mississippi Choctaw tribal council member admits to defrauding tribe using bogus travel receipts

Published 1:03 pm Saturday, July 3, 2021

A Native American tribal council member in Mississippi has pleaded guilty to wire fraud.

Roderick Bell, 42, of Philadelphia, admitted submitting phony hotel bills and receipts to the Mississippi Band of Choctaw government as business travel expenses between April and October of 2017, a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

He pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court in Jackson, and is scheduled for sentencing Oct. 6 before Judge Carlton Reeves on the single charge. It carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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A federal grand jury had indicted Bell in February 2019 on charges of theft and wire fraud.