Former Yurok official pleads not guilty

Eureka, California (AP) April 2012

Authorities say a former Yurok tribe official wanted for allegedly embezzling federal money intended for spotted owl and wildlife research is in custody after turning himself in.

The Times-Standard ( ) reports that after surrendering to Del Norte county officials, Roland Raymond was arraigned and pleaded not guilty to embezzlement and other charges.  

The 49-year-old Raymond is the former director of forestry for the Yurok tribe.  He had been wanted since Feb. 23 when a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Prosecutors say Raymond and two contract biologists used fake invoices and other bogus documents to embezzle more than $870,000 in federal funds from the Yurok Tribe during three years of wildlife studies.

The two biologists, 65-year-old Ron LeValley and 45-year-old Sean McAllister, are free on bail after pleading not guilty to embezzlement and other charges.

Raymond was being held in Del Norte County Jail on $1 million bail.

Information from: Times-Standard,