MINNEAPOLIS — Fortune Bay Resort & Casino employee was charged in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis for Embezzlement and Theft from Tribal Organization.

United States Attorney Erica MacDonald for the District of Minnesota alleges that Jennifer Lynn Boutto, 32, of Willow Valley Township, Minnesota, stole more than $315,000 from the casino owned and operated by the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa in northern Minnesota. The U.S. Attorney’s Office alleges the theft occurred over a period of six years—from June 2013 through October 2019. 

Comments from the Fortune Bay Casino were forwarded to the Bois Forte Tribal Government.

“We are aware of the proceedings, and will comment once the matter is concluded,” said Bois Forte Tribal Chairwoman Cathy Chavers in an email to Native News Online.

An employee who wishes to remain anonymous worked with Boutto and confirmed Buotto is not a Bois Forte tribal member and worked as a front-desk employee at the resort. 

Section 1163 of Title 18 (Federal Criminal Code) makes embezzlement, theft, criminal conversation, and willful misapplication of funds belonging to a tribal organization a federal crime. 

It is a felony if the amount taken exceeds $100, and is subject to imprisonment for a maximum of 5 years and/or a fine. This statute applies to both Indians and non-Indians, and does not need to be committed on tribal lands. 

The Fortune Bay Resort Casino is located in Tower, Minn., less than 25 miles from the Canadian border. The resort has a 173-room hotel, RV park, five restaurants, a golf course, indoor pool, snowmobiling and cross-country trails. The casino floor has 800 slot machines, 12 blackjack tables, four poker tables and a bingo hall.

Efforts to reach Jennifer Boutto and her defense attorney were unsuccessful and comment was unavailable for publication. Boutto is not in custody. 

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Author: Darren Thompson