A former Skagway tribal administrator has signed a guilty plea admitting to embezzlement.
Delia Commander used tribal government funds to pay for things like gambling and personal travel.
Commander worked as tribal administrator of the Skagway Traditional Council between 2008 and 2014. Her unauthorized purchases were discovered when a new administrator took over. She was indicted by an Anchorage grand jury in May.
In the plea agreement signed late last month, Commander admits to one of four embezzlement charges. In return for pleading guilty to embezzlement from an Indian tribal organization, the U.S. Attorney’s office will dismiss three charges of embezzling from an organization receiving federal funding.
The two parties agree that Commander caused a loss of between $250,000 and $550,000.
The Skagway Traditional Council receives the majority of its funding from the Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs. The council also gets project funding from the EPA.
The plea deal says Commander misused more than $250,000 in tribal funds over a four-year period. She spent tribal money on school tuition, gambling, credit card debt and a trip to Hawaii with her daughter.
Commander’s sentence will be determined at an Anchorage hearing Dec. 14. It is a joint change of plea hearing and sentencing.
The maximum penalty for the charge against her is five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.
The deal also says Commander agrees to pay at least $250,000 in restitution to the Skagway Traditional Council. The full amount will be determined at the sentencing.
Commander left the traditional council in 2014 and now lives in Oregon.