Federal jury finds Ho-Chunk tribal member guilty of bribery and tax charges

MADISON, Wis. — A federal jury found a Ho-Chunk tribal member guilty Wednesday of bribery and tax crimes following an 8 day trial.

It took the jury about seven hours to reach its verdict in the trial of 60 year old Timothy Whiteagle of Black River Falls.

Whiteagle was convicted of one bribery conspiracy count (five years maximum penalty); eight bribery counts (10 years maximum penalty on each); two counts of filing false tax returns (three years maximum penalty); and one count of obstruction by attempting to persuade a person to lie to the FBI (20 years maximum penalty).

He’s scheduled to be sentenced October 24th.

According to the evidence presented at the trial, the Ho-Chunk Nation, an Indian tribal government, operates casinos in the Western District of Wisconsin and annually receives federal grants well in excess of $10,000. Whiteagle is a Ho-Chunk tribal member.

From 2002 to 2009, Whiteagle, at times with the assistance of Deborah H. Atherton, 55, Black River Falls, acted covertly as a behind-the-scenes consultant for clients seeking to do business with the Ho-Chunk Nation.

The clients included companies that provided cash access services (such as check cashing and ATMs) at Ho-Chunk casinos, and a company that sought to provide mortgages and housing for tribal members.

Whiteagle received over $3 million dollars from the clients.