Feds: Tribal leader used funds like 'piggy bank'


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — A federal prosecutor tells jurors that a former chairman of the tribe that owns Connecticut's Foxwoods Resort Casino used a tribe-issued credit card "for his own piggy bank" at a time when the organization was struggling financially and laying off employees.

Prosecutors said during closing arguments Wednesday that Michael Thomas embezzled about $100,000 by charging personal expenses on a Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation credit card. Prosecutors say the charges included rides by a limousine service to doctor's appointments for his mother and television and satellite radio for himself.

A defense attorney, Paul Thomas, says the government failed to prove its case. He says the charges for rides to doctor's appointments were legitimate expenses.

The jury is beginning its deliberations. Thomas has pleaded not guilty to theft charges.

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