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9:27 am
Tue February 9, 2010

Tribal Employee Sentenced

Muskogee, OK – Ex-Choctaw Nation employee given probation

MUSKOGEE, Okla. (AP) A federal judge has sentenced a former Choctaw Nation employee to four years of probation for embezzling money from the Native American tribe.

Prosecutors said Monday Ahdohlowah Esther Tonihka also was ordered to pay $26,700 in restitution and enter into treatment for gambling addiction.

A grand jury indicted the 63-year-old Tonihka in June, and she pleaded guilty to embezzlement and theft from an Indian tribal organization in August.

Prosecutors say from about October 2008 to January 2009, Tonihka embezzled the money by inflating the dollar amounts on gas receipts while working at the Choctaw Nation Travel Plaza.

Neither of Tonihka's attorneys at the Federal Public Defender's office in Tulsa immediately returned messages left for comment on Monday.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.