Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians Tribal Council Member Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud

Published 4:09 pm Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Jackson, Miss. – Roderick Bell, 42, of Philadelphia, an elected member of the Tribal Council for the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, entered a plea of guilty today to federal wire fraud, announced Acting United States Attorney Darren J. LaMarca and Special Agent in Charge Michelle A. Sutphin of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Mississippi.

A federal grand jury indicted Bell in February 2019, charging him with one count of theft and one count of wire fraud for defrauding the Choctaw Tribal government.  Between April 2017 and October 2017, Bell forged hotel bills and receipts and submitted those documents to the Tribal government in claims for reimbursement for official business travel.

Bell will be sentenced by Judge Carlton W. Reeves on October 6, 2021.  He faces a potential maximum penalty of  20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Acting U.S. Attorney LaMarca commended the work of the Special Agents with the FBI’s Jackson Division who investigated the case.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Theodore Cooperstein and Kevin Payne.