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Ex-tribal president pleads guilty to fund fraud

Posted: October 3, 2013 - 12:00am

ANCHORAGE — A former tribal president pleaded guilty Wednesday to misapplication of more than $100,000 in tribal funds, federal prosecutors said.

Lori “Sue” Clum, also known as “Sue Johnson,” pleaded guilty Wednesday to conversion and misapplication of funds involving the Native Village of Tatitlek. Prosecutors say the 45-year-old Anchorage woman fraudulently obtained the tribal fund money from April 2008 through April 2009.

Clum’s 48-year-old brother, James Edward Kramer of Valdez, pleaded guilty Wednesday to failing to file an income tax return that should have included some of the tribal money he received from his sister, according to prosecutors.

Clum and Kramer are rescheduled for a Jan. 6 sentencing, assistant U. S. Attorney Aunnie Steward said.

Clum was elected president of the Native Village of Tatitlek for a two-year term in October 2007, following the sudden death of longtime president Gary Kompkoff the previous year. In April 2008, a new president was selected, but Clum disputed the legality of the election and refused to step down as president, prosecutors said.

For the next year, according to prosecutors, Clum intentionally converted and misapplied tribal funds totaling about $112,000. Of $22,000 she withdrew in March 2009, she gave $20,000 to her brother, prosecutors said, adding that Kramer did not file tax returns in the years between 2008 and 2012.

Asked how Clum was able to access tribal funds when she no longer was president, Stewart said Clum “refused to acknowledge the new president and maintained control of the bank accounts.”

Clum, who is under house arrest and electronic monitoring, faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to Steward. Kramer faces one year in prison and $100,000 fine. He is out of custody under pretrial supervision until sentencing.

Michael Dieni, a federal public defender representing Clum, declined to comment other than to say more information will come out in further court pleadings.

“In spite of the plea, there’s two sides to this story,” Dieni said.

Kramer’s attorney, Michael Moberly, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

Tatitlek is an Alutiiq village of 100 people about 30 miles northwest of Cordova.

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