Indian leader gets 2 1/2 years in prison for taking bribes
MARQUETTE, Mich. (AP) _ The man known as the grandfather of Indian gambling was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison Wednesday for taking kickbacks from a slot machine dealer.
Fred Dakota, 60, a former tribal chairman of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, was convicted in July of accepting $127,000 in bribes and then evading taxes on the money.
Dakota was accused of taking the kickbacks from Jerrold Polinsky, whose company, International Gaming Management Inc., supplied slot machines to the tribe’s Ojibwa Casino in Baraga in the early 1990s.
During the June trial in Grand Rapids, Polinsky said he paid Dakota to act as spokesman for a nationwide 900-number lottery that never got off the ground. Dakota did not declare the money as income and no record of the deal was found.
Federal prosecutors said Dakota was a sophisticated tax dodger who got caught. Dakota’s attorney said his client naively made the deal without fully grasping its implications.
U.S. District Judge Robert Holmes Bell ordered Dakota to begin serving time immediately and fined him $30,000.
Dakota opened one of the nation’s first Indian casinos from a two-car garage on New Year’s Eve 1983.