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Admitted gambler who embezzled from Indian tribe tells judge

Source:sites edit:casino time:2017-12-01

An admitted gambler who embezzled thousands of dollars from an Oklahoma Indian tribe she worked for thanked a judge Thursday for the counseling she has since received.

"When this all started, I did have a very big issue with gambling," Danielle Butler said during her sentencing in Oklahoma City federal court. "I am truly grateful for the help that I've received from this court. ... I did not realize what a terrible issue I had before that."

In a letter to the judge, Butler, 36, of Red Rock, said she now is free of her gambling addiction and "can be a good role model for my children."

U.S. District Judge Stephen Friot commended Butler for overcoming her addiction. "This defendant has clearly conquered her gambling problem."

The judge, though, called Bulter's actions grossly dishonest and "a serious breach of trust."

Butler, the former payroll director of the Otoe-Missouria Gaming Enterprises, admitted to taking money from the tribe, as well as issuing unauthorized checks to herself. Butler pleaded guilty in April to embezzlement and theft from an Indian tribe organization.

The judge Thursday sentenced Butler to four years probation and ordered she spend 10 weekends in jail.

Butler also must pay $39,018 in restitution to the Otoe-Missouria Tribe, which is headquartered in Red Rock. The tribe operates multiple casinos in the state.

A grand jury indicted Butler in February, accusing her of using her position to issue dozens of unauthorized checks to herself. Her husband initially was indicted with her, but he later was dismissed from the case.

Defense attorney Joan Lopez said Butler told prosecutors that her husband wasn't involved in the scheme and that she acted alone.

"This was to benefit the gambling addiction she had at that time," Lopez told the judge.

In a sentencing memorandum, the defense attorney wrote, "Butler has expressed strong remorse for her destructive conduct."

The embezzlement occurred between March 2011 and March 2012, according to the indictment. A prosecutor told the judge that the case was only recently prosecuted due to, in part, a lengthy FBI investigation.

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