A Chicago man was sentenced to 30 months in prison for his role in a scheme to steal more than $1 million from the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians.
The U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan says Britan Douglas Groom was part of a conspiracy to commit wire fraud with his codefendant and friend, Chester Randall Dunican.
The Attorney says Dunican acted as CEO of GTB LLC, a company hired by the Tribe to work on economic development opportunities. Dunican claimed he had exclusive distribution rights with a water filtration company called R.O. Distributors and got the Tribe to invest nearly $1 million. Dunican also got the tribe to invest over $700,000 in another company called Evergreen Distributors LLC.
Both of these companies turned out to be shell corporations owned by Dunican and Groom.
The U.S. Attorney says the Tribe pushed back when Dunican asked them for even more money. He even convinced Groom get another friend to pretend to be a company representative. The Tribe found out the “company rep” was actually a schoolteacher from Illinois and fired Dunican.
Groom pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. He’ll spend three years on parole, pay more than $1 million in restitution and pay back $302,052 he got from the scheme.
Dunican will be sentenced in federal court on Feb. 14.