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Native American dancers swindled

Oklahoma_Some Oklahoma Native Americans say they were caught in the middle of an International scam.  They're dancers who were hired to perform their native dances in Germany this summer.

Seventy natives made the trip and signed a paid contract to perform for 25 days.  But, they never got what the money they were promised.  The group made it back late last night, tired from the ordeal and the journey.  And now, they're jobless and empty handed.  Some of the group wanted to earn money for college, and some even had to give up their jobs to make the trip.

Those who dance for a living had no advance, but they did have a round trip ticket.  The dancers were able to get back to the U.S., but only as far as Dallas.  Luckily, the Comanche Nation came to their aid.  The tribe sent a charter bus to pick up the weary dancers and a part of the group made it back to Lawton late Wednesday night.

The Connywerdy family - Kevin, his wife Cricket and their three children were part of the group.  He and his family have gone on these dance trips before and this time out they thought they'd earn around $8000, part of the contract they'd agreed to with the German organization "Serena".  They were relying on the payment from the show to get them through the next few months.

This group turned out to be two men.  The contract the native dancers signed required each dancer to work 10 hours per day, rain or shine and be paid $150 per day.  On the fifteenth day, after having not been paid, the dance group called off the shows.

They were told by the Germans who had booked the troupe that they could go to the airport and wait 10 days until the return date on the ticket; or they could pay their own way home.  Reluctantly, the Native Americans decided to fulfill their part of the contract.

There has been a criminal report filed and some of the artists that were contracted to sell their jewelry haven't had their goods returned.  According to the contract, the German group was to send anything that was not sold back to the dancers; a value of at least $50,000 worth of art.  This has not happened and the valuables are considered stolen.

The U.S. Consulate was contacted and a police report has been filed.  The consulate has informed the group that they must now hire a German attorney to handle its case - in Germany.  And then they can proceed.  An investigation into the German organization, "Serena", is underway.

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