SAN FRANCISCO -- Former Yurok tribal forestry director Roland Raymond was sentenced Monday to three years in prison for embezzling nearly $1 million.
U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco also ordered Roland Raymond to pay back the $852,000 he stole from the tribe.
Raymond has been jailed since he tested positive for methamphetamine use while under house arrest in November.
Raymond served as the tribe's forestry director for 17 years before he was fired in 2011. He pleaded guilty last year to one count of embezzlement, acknowledging that he approved false invoices submitted by Eureka-based Mad River Biologists in exchange for kickbacks over a four-year period ending in 2010. Authorities allege that the biology company submitted invoices for phony spotted owl surveys on tribal forests and funneled 80 percent of the tribe's payments back to Raymond.
Raymond spent most of the money on drugs and gambling, prosecutors said.
Raymond's attorney, Randall Davis, didn't return a phone call seeking comment.
In court papers, Davis told the court that Raymond was remorseful and intends to pay back the tribe.
"Mr. Raymond's downfall in this matter arose not from a nefarious predilection to narcotics and recklessness, but innocently enough from treatment for an extremely painful medical condition for which he was prescribed legal opiates," Davis wrote the court. "This prescription turned into a terrible, and near life-ending, addiction that he is now working hard to overcome."
Raymond, who faced a maximum sentence of five years in prison, admitted in his plea agreement to working with Mad River Biologists founder and alleged co-conspirator Ron LeValley.
LeValley has pleaded not guilty to conspiring with Raymond to embezzle from the Yurok Tribe. LeValley, free after posting a $50,000 bond, is due in court on Jan. 21 for a potential change of plea hearing.
The Times-Standard contributed to this report.