Tribal police chief pleads guilty

Lawton_The Comanche Tribal Police Chief pled guilty on Wednesday to taking thousands of dollars from a tribal account.  Federal Investigators say Ray Anderson admitted that the damage caused the tribe was more than $50,000.  Investigators say he had been taking the money for more than three years, and as recently as three months ago.  Part of his plea included his resignation as police chief.

Anderson has been the chief of police for as long as the tribe has had a police force - about a decade.  But, now the FBI says he's been using tribal money for personal gain on gambling, meals, and gifts.  Authorities found that Anderson had opened a separate account without tribal approval, and from November, 2004, to December, 2007, funneled checks and cash meant for the tribe into his account.

Anderson's attorney Ryland Rivas says he admits his client was not authorized to use the money, but he says his intent was pure.  He says Anderson set up the separate account to pay for more police training, programs for children and adults, and camps.  Rivas says he plans to call on tribal members to testify on Anderson's behalf.

Rivas says while the loss of the money will not set the tribe back, it sets a bad example for other tribal employees.  The FBI says Anderson abused his position of public trust for his own benefit.  He's been on paid leave since December, and is no longer police chief.  The business committee for the tribe is looking for a replacement.

The tribal chairman couldn't be reached for comment.  Ray Anderson has been found guilty of one count of embezzlement, and faces up to 5 years in federal prison, along with a fine of up to $250,000.  His sentencing is scheduled for June, but until then he's free on bond.