By Angel Ellis, Reporter
OKMULGEE, Oklahoma — Former Principal Chief of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation George Phillip Tiger (70) was sentence to one year and one day in prison for his involvement in a bribery case in which Tiger admitted to receiving federal funds. His charges stem from his time as a board member of the Economic Development Authority Board (EDA) for the Alabama-Quassarte Tribal Town (AQTT).
Tiger will serve his time in FMC Fort Worth, an administrative security federal medical center, a facility that can accommodate Tigers’ health issues. In addition to his time prison, Tiger will have two years of supervised release, and will pay a $10,000 fine. Tiger will report to serve his sentence on Sept. 14.
Tiger was an agent of the AQTT from September 26, 2017 through December 4, 2018. His duties included serving as the Chairman of the EDA Board. The AQTT formed the EDA to identify, plan, initiate, and develop tribal economic and industrial activities on behalf of the AQTT.
The Indictment to which Tiger entered his guilty plea alleged that from on or about September 26, 2017 through on or about February 15, 2019, stated he corruptly solicited, demanded, accepted and agreed to accept a bribe from Mr. Aaron Terry, intending to be influenced and rewarded in connection with a transaction or series of transactions of the AQTT.
Mr. Terry held various executive management and control positions within the AQTT-owned business entities. He pled guilty to one count of Theft by An Agent Of An Indian Tribal Government Receiving Federal Funds.
“Mr. Tiger took advantage of the position of trust he had been given by the people of the Alabama-Quassarte Tribal Town. Instead of acting in the best interests of those he was appointed to serve Tiger sought out and received unlawful profit for himself. Terry likewise exploited his position as an agent of a tribal government for his own selfish and unlawful gain.” said United States Attorney Brian J. Kuester. “This office and the agencies who have been involved in this investigation are committed to identifying, investigating, and prosecuting those who corrupt the positions of trust and authority they hold.”
“While serving as appointed officials within the Alabama-Quassarte Tribal Town, George Tiger and Aaron Terry engaged in various bribery schemes with the sole intention of personal financial gain,” said Melissa Godbold, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Oklahoma City Field Office. “The prosecution of these subjects should serve as a warning that law enforcement will not tolerate officials who abuse their positions of trust.”
Tiger was able to address the Court. He asked if he could speak a few words in his native language. Accommodating indigenous language in the court was precedence for Judge White. Court record was required to be suspended for the few lines of the Mvskoke language since court reporters were not equipped to record and interpret the communications.
“I am deeply sorry to the leadership, citizens and family of A and Q,” Tiger said. “I hope my error can be used to help others make the right decision even when others are not watching.”