BOISE, Idaho — An Idaho company that sells posters to raise money for schools has admitted to defrauding a South Dakota tribe and at least two organizations tied to Alaska Natives.
All Around Sports, in Boise, and its owner, Chris Hoshaw, have “reached an agreement with the Department of Justice in South Dakota to resolve the matters set forth in the legal pleadings,” according to the company’s attorney, Scott McKay.
The company and Hoshaw “accept responsibility for these matters,” McKay said. He said the company “has implemented changes to its business practices to ensure this does not occur again,” the Idaho Statesman reported .
All Around Sports runs a call centre in Boise, staffed with salespeople who try to get business to buy advertisements, federal prosecutors said.
Those advertisements are printed on posters and other products that promote nearby schools, with advertising proceeds going to the schools’ athletic programs, according to the All Around Sports website.
All Around Sports devised a fraud scheme that it used between December 2015 and December 2016 to take more than $360,000 from the victims, according to prosecutors.
The business took $54,000 from the Oglala Sioux Tribe in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, prosecutors said. It convinced an employee at a local college, the Oglala Lakota College, to sign an authorization form. All Around Sports used that form to get money wired from the tribe’s bank account, prosecutors said.
The business also took $218,900 from Kokarmuit Corp., described as a Native retail company in Akiak, Alaska, and $90,000 from the Alaskan city of Ambler, a small town of mostly Kuuvangmiut Inupiat residents. Prosecutors did not say how All Around Sports accomplished that, only that it was trying “to further the objectives of the conspiracy to commit wire fraud in 2016.”
Under a plea agreement, Hoshaw said he would waive indictment and plead guilty to wire fraud. The maximum penalty is 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both, and three years of parole or probation.
The company admitted to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, with a maximum penalty of probation, a $500,000 fine or both.
Under the plea deal, Hoshaw and the company agreed to “use their best efforts” to pay restitution to the victims at or before sentencing. All Around Sports must pay $109,450 to the Kokarmuit Corp. and $90,000 to the city of Ambler.
The company also is being sued by another Alaska Native corporation in a remote village. The complaint, filed by Mary’s Igloo Native Corp., alleges unfair trade practices. The Statesman has requested copies of the lawsuit.
Information from: Idaho Statesman, http://www.idahostatesman.com
The Associated Press