Chief Wahoo protester admits he stole cash meant for Native Individuals

A Cleveland man identified for his opposition to the Cleveland Indians’ “Chief Wahoo” mascot has admitted to stealing greater than $77,000 in federal grant cash meant to assist Native Individuals, federal prosecutors mentioned Wednesday. 

Robert Roche, 71, pleaded responsible to 2 counts of theft from packages receiving federal funds.

In accordance with prosecutors, Roche and advisor Craig McGuire conspired to divert cash from the American Indian Training Heart (AIEC) in suburban Parma, the place Roche served as govt director.

Investigators say McGuire submitted false functions to the federal Substance Abuse and Psychological Well being Companies Administration (SAMHSA). In accordance with prosecutors, McGuire falsely claimed that the middle supplied an afterschool program for 500 kids and had a “wellness division.”

chief wahoo

The Indians have mentioned they are going to section out use of the Chief Wahoo emblem this season.

In accordance with the U.S. Legal professional’s Workplace in Cleveland, the middle obtained $482,766 in grant cash from SAMHSA between 2011 and 2013. Roche diverted $77,097 of that cash for his private use. 

“This defendant stole from taxpayers and betrayed the Native American households he purported to assist,” U.S. Legal professional Justin E. Herdman mentioned. “He took tens of 1000’s of dollars designated for psychological well being and wellness packages and put the cash in his personal pockets.”

Cleveland.com reported that Roche was indicted in August 2017. McGuire pleaded responsible to conspiracy and theft of presidency funds in April of final 12 months and is awaiting sentencing. 

Roche, an Apache, has been a distinguished face within the motion to scrap the cartoon Chief Wahoo mascot that detractors take into account racist. In January, the Indians introduced that it could section out the emblem and would take away it from use solely for the 2019 baseball season.

Roche is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 29.

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