MIAMI (AP) — A Florida Indian tribe has accused its former chairman of stealing $26 million from its members to spend on gambling trips, shopping sprees, real estate and luxury cars.
In a federal lawsuit filed in Miami federal court, the Miccosukee tribe accuses Billy Cypress of conspiring to hide the “massive web of financial theft, embezzlement and fraud.”
Cypress served as the tribe’s chairman from 1987 until he was voted out in 2009.
The lawsuit also lists two former Miccosukee financial officers, two former U.S. attorneys and a Miami brokerage firm as defendants. One of the former Miccosukee financial officers, Julio Martinez, tells The Miami Herald that the tribal council under Cypress’ leadership was fully aware of his spending.
The Herald could not reach Cypress or his attorneys for comment Tuesday.