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Articles Tagged with Tribal bond fraud

In South Dakota federal court, a number of public employee retirement funds are suing US Bank NA (USB) for not identifying certain “red flags” as the signs of a tribal bond fraud. The plaintiffs say they lost $25M in the offering scam and they believe that the bank decided to ignore the warnings that something was amiss.

The plaintiffs in the tribal bond fraud lawsuit include the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission Employees’ Retirement Plan, which invested $4.1M, the Water Works Board of the City of Birmingham, which invested $4.3M, and the Omaha School Employees’ Retirement System affiliates, which invested $16.2M. According to the pension funds, their investment advisers were bought by fraudsters who put their money in bonds that a Native American tribe had issued.

US Bank served as the tribal bond offerings’ indenture trustee. This meant that it was the bondholder and handled the funds. The plaintiffs want damages for a number of violations, including negligence and breach of contract.
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Jason Galanis, an ex-investment banker, who is already serving eleven years behind bars for stock rigging, has been sentenced to five years in prison for fraud involving a Native American tribal bond. He must forfeit over $43M and pay nearly $44M of restitution.

In the tribal bond scam, Galanis and his father John Galanis are accused of convincing Oglala Sioux Tribe affiliate Wakpamni Lake Community Corp. of issuing $60M in municipal bonds. The two of them and others then misappropriated the proceeds from the bonds, including $8.5M for Jason personally. Meantime, bond investors were left with worthless securities while the tribal corporation had no means of paying the interest payments that it owed on the bonds.

According to the prosecution, the bond scam bilked Galanis’ tribal bond clients and the investing public while “defrauding the Native American tribe into issuing bonds.” Galanis and his co-conspirators sold the bonds, which were illiquid, to pension funds, and stole the profits. Meantime, they allegedly hid conflicts of interest and the fact that the bonds were not liquid.

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