Ex-Yurok Forestry Dir. accused of embezzling $900,000 from Tribe

Anthony Skeens, The Triplicate

Former Yurok Forestry Director Roland Raymond is facing federal charges for his suspected involvement in embezzling more than $900,000 from the Yurok Tribe.

The case was picked up by the U.S. Attorney's Office and Raymond was indicted on suspicion of embezzlement and defrauding the federal government Wednesday, said Del Norte County District Attorney Jon Alexander.

"The devastation to the forestry program and Yurok Tribe is something I take very seriously. Until I see some semblance of a responsible disposition and sentencing in the federal system against Mr. Raymond I am not inclined to dismiss charges against him on the state level yet," said Alexander.

Raymond remains in the Del Norte County Jail, but is expected to be transported by U.S. marshals to San Francisco on Friday, Alexander said.

A majority of the money - $870,064 - is alleged to have been siphoned from the tribe's coffers for spotted owl surveys that were not completed by Mad River Biologists, a consortium of scientists based in Eureka, a court document states. The money allegedly embezzled was from funds allocated for the Endangered Species Act by the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Raymond is alleged to have employed the help of Ron LeValley, 65, and Sean McAllister, 45, both biologists at Mad River Biologists.

Federal charges have not been filed against the two biologists thus far, but they still face charges of suspicion of embezzlement, burglary and conspiracy in Del Norte County, Alexander said.

Reach Anthony Skeens at askeens@triplicate.com .

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