Monday Aug 20 2012
Three charged in missing United Auburn Indian $18 million case
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
Grand jury indictment names former tribal administrator as co-defendant
AUBURN CA - The U.S. Justice Department is now going after three suspects in an alleged $18 million fraud theft from the United Auburn Indian Community in criminal court. The Sacramento office of U.S. Attorney unsealed an indictment this past week that charges former tribal administrator Greg Scott Baker, 45, of Newcastle, Bart Wayne Volen, 53, of San Diego and Haiku, Hawaii, and Darrell Patrick Hinz, 47, of Cameron Park, with conspiring to commit mail and wire fraud and money-laundering. U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner said a federal grand jury indicted the three Aug. 9. Volen was arrested Friday by Internal Revenue Service special agents at San Francisco International Airport. The indictments followed a round of civil-complaint filings in March, seeking forfeit of 20 properties in El Dorado, Glenn, Placer, Sacramento and San Diego counties, as well as one property in Maui, Hawaii. Prosecutors allege that the properties were bought with funds traceable to a fraud or funds involved in money laundering actions. A second round of civil complaints in relation to the allegations were filed in June that seek forfeit of a 2010 Mercedes-Benz, a mobilehome in Newcastle, shares of stock, a $2.4-million promissory note, ownership interests in an existing business and over $170,000. Baker, Hinz and Volen are alleged to have conspired to overbill the United Auburn Indian Community – owners of the Thunder Valley Casino near Lincoln – for work Volen was hired to oversee on a project to complete construction on four tribal buildings in Auburn. The buildings – a school, a community center and administrative offices – are located near the Auburn Folsom Road-Indian Hill Road intersection. Doug Elmets, United Auburn Indian Community tribal spokesman, said Monday that the tribe has been working cooperatively with the U.S. Department of Justice and the IRS to “make certain justice is done.” That includes full compensation for any funds fraudulently obtained in an overbilling scam, Elmets said. “The grand jury indictment obviously justifies the swift action taken by the tribal council in March when it terminated Greg Baker’s employment, with cause,” Elmets said. “Under federal law, the seizure of assets must first be used as restitution for the tribe and the tribe expects to be made whole.” Court documents state Volen allegedly submitted false and inflated invoices to the United Auburn Indian Community. He purportedly supported his invoices with inflated cost proposals from his general contractor’s company, SPB, and, at times, inflated invoices from subcontractors. Volen’s work on the Indian Hills Office Project started in late 2006 and ended in early 2008. The government alleges that Volen, Baker and Hinz ultimately stole more than $18 million from the tribe. The indictment alleges that Hinz, a contract employee paid by the tribe to manage quality control and construction at the project site, paid for several items Baker accepted. The list in court documents includes a trip to Hawaii, a $70,000 BMW, mobile home, several investment properties, a $54,000 pool and a Lake Tahoe vacation condominium. The indictment alleges Volen sent Hinz 29 checks totaling $7.5 million. The money was used by Volen to indirectly pay Baker, court documents allege. If convicted, the defendants face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Volen, Baker and Hinz could not be reached for comment.