Wakpala Man Charged with Embezzlement and Theft from Indian Tribal Organizations

1 min read
FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

United States Attorney Dennis R. Holmes announced that a Wakpala, South Dakota, man has been indicted by a federal grand jury for Embezzlement and Theft from an Indian Tribal Organization. 

Joshua Iron Cloud, Sr., age 38, was indicted on September 8, 2021.  He appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark A. Moreno on February 23, 2021, and pled not guilty to the Indictment. 

The maximum penalty upon conviction is up to five years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine, three years of supervised release, and $100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.  Restitution may also be ordered.

The Indictment alleges that between March and May 2020, Iron Cloud embezzled, stole, and converted more than $1,000 of monies, funds, and credits belonging to Oyate Community Development Corporation of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, an Indian Tribal Organization.  It is alleged that Iron Cloud used those monies on personal items and expenditures.

The charge is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. 

The case was brought pursuant to The Guardians Project, a federal law enforcement initiative to coordinate efforts between participating agencies, to promote citizen disclosure of public corruption, fraud, and embezzlement involving federal program funds, contracts, and grants, and to hold accountable those who are responsible for adversely affecting those living in South Dakota’s Indian country communities.  The Guardians Project is another step of federal law enforcement’s on-going efforts to increase engagement, coordination, and positive action on behalf of tribal communities.  Led by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the participating agencies include: Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Offices of Inspector General for the Departments of Interior, Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration, Agriculture, Transportation, Education, Justice, and Housing and Urban Development; Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division; U.S. Postal Inspector Service; U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General.

For additional information about The Guardians Project, please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office at (605) 330-4400.  To report a suspected crime, please contact law enforcement at the federal agency’s locally listed telephone number.

The investigation is being conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeremy Jehangiri is prosecuting the case.

Iron Cloud was released on bond pending trial.  A trial date has not been set.