A 33-year-old woman has been sentenced to federal prison for embezzling more than $300,000 from the casino where she worked.
Jennifer Lynn Boutto was sentenced Monday to eight months in prison and one year of supervised release, as well as ordered to pay full restitution for embezzling $315,739.87 in tribal funds.
“Ms. Boutto took advantage of the managerial position she had been trusted with and selfishly stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa," Acting U.S. Attorney W. Anders Folk said in a statement. “This brazen theft of Tribal funds deeply impacted the Tribe’s ability to provide services to its own members. Today’s sentence signals the seriousness of Ms. Boutto’s crimes.”
Boutto in 2008 began working as a reservationist at the Fortune Bay Resort Casino in Tower, Minnesota, which is owned and operated by the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa. She was then promoted to front desk supervisor, which allowed her to issue cash refunds without direct supervision.
That's where she began embezzling money from the tribe. The U.S. Attorney's Office says between January 2013 and October 2019, Boutto would issue false cash refunds against the invoices of previous Fortune Bay customers. She'd then go into the vault and retrieve the money.
She did this scheme 2,994 times to steal $315,739.87.
Buotto pleaded guilty to one count of embezzlement and theft of Tribal funds in March of this year.
Bois Forte Tribal Chairwoman Cathy Chavers said in a statement: "Far too often crimes are committed against tribes in Indian Country and the punishment is a slap on the wrist. We applaud Judge Tostrud for realizing the seriousness of the crime committed. Boutto serving time in federal prison reinforces the fact that crimes like these won’t be tolerated.
"We are relieved to put an end to this matter and are now able to breathe a bit easier seeing justice done," Chavers added. "Now our community can begin the process of healing and ensuring this never happens again.”