MUSKOGEE – Christopher Wallace Covington, 43, of Ada, has been sentenced to 24 months imprisonment and ordered to pay $486,431.02 in restitution for Theft Concerning Programs Receiving Federal Funds, according to The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Oklahoma.
The charges arose from an investigation by the Chickasaw Nation Department of Treasury, the Chickasaw Nation Department of Interior Services and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
On March 25, 2022, Covington pleaded guilty to one count of Theft Concerning Programs Receiving Federal Funds.
According to investigators, Covington, a Chickasaw Nation Department of Treasury accounting manager, embezzled $486,431.02 from the Chickasaw Nation from 2017 until May 2021. The Chickasaw Nation is a federally recognized Indian tribal government and an organization which receives federal benefits and assistance.
“The defendant deliberately exploited his position to steal nearly half a million dollars in federal funds from his employer,” said FBI Oklahoma City Special Agent in Charge Edward J. Gray. “We will continue to partner with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to protect the integrity of taxpayer dollars and take swift action against those who embezzle funds intended to assist our tribal communities.”
“The defendant abused his position of trust over many years to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant funds intended to benefit Chickasaw students,” said United States Attorney Christopher J. Wilson. “This office stands together with our Tribal partners in seeking prosecution of crimes that would deprive the future of Native Americans in the Eastern District.”
The Honorable Ronald A. White, Chief Judge in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, presided over the sentencing hearing in Muskogee, Oklahoma. Covington will report on October 26, 2023, to a designated United States Bureau of Prisons facility to serve a non-paroleable sentence of incarceration.
Assistant United States Attorneys T. Cameron McEwen and Kara Traster represented the United States.