Anthony Skeens, The Triplicate

$850,000 was embezzled with bogus owl surveys

A former Yurok forestry director was sentenced to three years in prison Monday for his part in an embezzlement scheme that siphoned $850,000 from the Yurok Tribe.

Roland Raymond, 51, of Eureka, was also ordered to pay $852,000 in restitution to the tribe, according to a statement released by the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Northern District of California.

A majority of the money is alleged to have been purloined from the tribe's coffers over a two-year period 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.

Ron LeValley, 66, has also been charged by the U.S. Attorney's Office in the embezzlement case. His case is still pending, although he has pleaded no contest to conpiracy.

The case began with an investigation conducted by Del Norte District Attorney Investigator A.C. Field.

The District Attorney's Office had originally filed the case, but dismissed it once the U.S. Attorney's Office took it over.

Sean McAllister, 46, of Eureka, a biologist and a third defendant named in the local case, has not been charged by the U.S. Attorney's Office.

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