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A former Oglala Sioux Tribe official is set to plead guilty Friday to a misdemeanor charge of stealing from the tribe, an offense punishable by up to a year in federal prison.

Charles Leo Cummings, 57, is accused of taking less than $1,000 from tribal funds between December 2015 and January 2016 while serving as vice chairman of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation's LaCreek District Board. Cummings admitted receiving two checks worth $2,500 to buy food and other items for a district New Year’s party, but instead spent the money on himself and his family. He didn’t repay the tribe despite saying so.

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Cummings is required to repay the full amount under his plea agreement with federal prosecutors. He was initially charged with taking more than $1,000, which constitutes a felony. The severity of his charge was reduced under the plea deal.

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Cops and Courts Reporter

Cops and courts reporter for the Rapid City Journal