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Worker embezzled from NC tribe to buy Derek Jeter collage and belt buckles, feds say

About $200,000 siphoned from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians was utilized in half to pay for commemorative sports activities memorabilia from Florida, in accordance to federal prosecutors.

Now the 41-year-old man accused of constructing the purchases goes to jail.

Fredrick Thomas Gettins Strohm was sentenced to a year and a half in prison on Thursday after he pleaded responsible final yr to embezzling from an Indian tribal group, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina stated in a information launch. A federal choose additionally ordered him to pay the tribe $199,077 in restitution and serve an extra three years of supervised launch.

A protection lawyer representing Strohm didn’t instantly reply to McClatchy News’ request for touch upon Thursday.

According to a invoice of data filed by prosecutors, Strohm lives in Jackson County and was the workplace supervisor on the web service supplier Cherokee Broadband Enterprises.

Jackson County in southwest North Carolina is one in every of 5 counties that encompass parts of the Qualla Boundary, the 100-square-mile reservation belonging to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

Strohm reportedly had entry to Cherokee Broadband’s financial institution accounts and bank cards by his job, which he was allowed to use on business-related bills.

But from 2014 to 2018, prosecutors stated he used that entry to embezzle cash for private bills and “large cash withdrawals.” According to courtroom paperwork, these private bills included:

$300 value of belts and belt buckles from Amazon, together with an ornamental Florida State Seminoles belt buckle

a miniature helmet show assortment from the sports activities attire retailer Fanatics.com

More than $57,000 in bank card payments

Two custom-made Jacksonville Jaguars jerseys together with his identify on the again costing $300 every

a Derek Jeter collage

$119 on LED fog lights for his Dodge Challenger

Nearly $135 on vape merchandise

Strohm hid the purchases by altering financial institution statements and deleting QuickBooks information within the pc system, prosecutors stated.

Investigators later uncovered the deleted information, and Strohm was charged by legal info on June 2. He pleaded responsible the identical day, courtroom paperwork present.

Strohm had requested the choose for a jail sentence under the really helpful pointers, citing in-part his “slowly dissolving” marriage through the time of the alleged embezzlement, which his protection lawyer stated “contributed to his poor decision making.” He was looking for a probationary sentence or a interval of house confinement in consequence.

In letters to the choose, buddies and relations known as Strohm “a devoted and loving father.”

“Your Honor, I do not know the man who stands accused of the crimes committed, such behavior is very contrast to the man I have come to know, and the man standing before you certainly seems to no longer be that individual,” one pal wrote.

Strohm’s father stated the household was briefly “screened out of his life” whereas he was married to his now ex-wife, writing “Rick thought they had solvable marital problems, until she came home with a pentagram tattooed on her hand and Freddy Krueger tattooed down her side.”

He stated the household is now a powerful supply of help and are dedicated to “never again be a defendant in a courtroom.”

Related tales from Raleigh News & Observer

Hayley Fowler is a reporter at The Charlotte Observer protecting breaking and real-time information throughout North and South Carolina. She has a journalism diploma from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and beforehand labored as a authorized reporter in New York City earlier than becoming a member of the Observer in 2019.

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