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Fraud lands ex-Paiute Tribe economic director in prison

Published: Friday, Nov. 22 2013 12:45 p.m. MST

The former economic development director for the Paiute Indian Tribe is headed to prison for swindling the tribe out of $175,000.

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SALT LAKE CITY — The former economic development director for the Paiute Indian Tribe is going to prison for swindling the tribe out of $175,000.

A federal judge sentenced Jeffrey Charles Zander to 68 months in prison after a jury convicted him of mail and wire fraud, money laundering, and willful failure to file tax returns. Zander, 58, also must pay $202,543 in restitution.

Zander worked as the tribe's economic development and trust resources director and later its general counsel, though he didn't have a license to practice law.

As part of his job, he obtained federal grants to fund resource management plans. He told the tribe he hired companies to act as consultants on projects, but the companies were bogus. He then diverted checks issued to the companies into personal bank accounts.

The scheme came to light when a transaction raised a red flag with a bank teller and tribal leaders started to uncover his misrepresentations.

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