Published August 30, 2019
WINDOW ROCK, NAVAJO NATION — The Office of the Prosecutor, through the White Collar Crime Unit, announces that former Tsayatoh Chapter Accounts Maintenance Specialist (AMS), Roberta Silvermith, pleaded guilty to sixteen counts of Fraud. The maximum penalty for a single violation of Fraud is 365 days’ imprisonment and/or a fine of $5,000.
On March 22, 2019 the Navajo Nation filed sixteen criminal complaints charging Ms. Silversmith with fraud. The Navajo Nation detailed in the criminal complaints that Defendant Silversmith, while serving as the Tsayatoh Chapter AMS, devised a scheme where she issued sixteen checks to her son who never worked at the chapter between June 2016 and January 2017. She then deposited the checks into her son’s account and then transferred the check amount into her own personal bank account. The total amount taken by the Defendant was $11,340.58.
On August 19, 2019 Ms. Silversmith was arraigned in the District Court of Window Rock before Judge Cynthia Thompson. Ms. Silversmith pleaded guilty to all the charges. The District Court accepted Ms. Silversmith’s guilty pleas, notified the parties that Defendant’s sentencing will be at a later date, and ordered the Probation Officer to complete a presentence report with recommendations. The prosecutor notified the court that he would file a sentencing recommendation.
The investigation was handled by the Office of the Prosecutor’s White Collar Crime Unit Senior Investigator Frank Brown and prosecuted by Attorney Brandon K. Bitsuie.
To protect the Nation from such crimes, a Fraud Hotline has been created to accept tips and complaints about potential waste, fraud, and abuse of Navajo Nation programs. Professional staff are standing by to review information provided by phone to 1-844-747-2767 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.