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.
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.