The one-time finance director of the Passamaquoddy Tribe’s Pleasant Point reservation, who was fired last year for lying about his identity, was arrested Friday in northern California on charges of stealing more than $20,000 from the Maine tribe.
According to a federal indictment unsealed Friday, the man known in Maine as Charles Fourcloud “stole $20,052.50 from the Passamaquoddy Tribe by submitting false expense claims and reports and fictitious supporting documentation,” mostly for travel and moving expenses.
If convicted of the charges – one count of theft and three counts of theft and embezzlement – Fourcloud will face as much as 25 years in prison.
The indictment, filed April 7 and sealed until his arrest, says Fourcloud set up a fake moving company and submitted moving expenses from that company.
It says he also booked airfares, canceled them and booked cheaper flights, then submitted expenses for the higher-priced fares.
He’s also accused in the indictment of using his daughters as references on his resume – for jobs he claims he held while he was actually in prison for embezzlement.
Fourcloud worked at Pleasant Point, near Eastport, from May to September last year. He was fired after tribal officials learned that he was Arlynn E. Knudsen, a one-time vice president of business affairs at a Lakota tribal college on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Reservation who pleaded guilty in 1997 to conspiracy, money laundering, income tax evasion and – with four others – embezzling $2.66 million in federal money.
After serving a 10-year prison term, he legally changed his name multiple times and got hired for financial oversight positions by tribal institutions in Washington, Texas and Maine. He also has gone by the names Arlyn Knudson, Arlyn Eaglestar, Charles Johnson and Charles Eaglestar.
On Sept. 23, Fourcloud was arrested in the Passamaquoddy tribal government’s parking lot and charged with driving on an expired California license. Police seized documents from his car, including his day planner, according to the indictment. The unlicensed driving charge was later dropped.
Using Fourcloud’s handwritten notes they found in the planner, as well as emails, bank records, airline and hotel records, and records from online travel companies such as Priceline, investigators say they uncovered multiple instances of Fourcloud misrepresenting his expenses to the tribe.
According to the indictment:
• Fourcloud came to Maine to interview on April 23, 2013, with the Passamaquoddy Tribe. He submitted an Alaska Airlines ticket for $1,781.40, but investigators found he canceled that flight eight minutes after he booked it and flew to Maine on a $437 ticket from Delta Airlines.
• When it hired Fourcloud, the tribe agreed to reimburse him for as much as $15,000 in moving expenses. He submitted a bill of $38,575 from Knudson Movers, which investigators found was a company created and owned by Fourcloud.
• Fourcloud claimed on his resume that he held tribal jobs during the period when he was in prison, and used his two daughters and other relatives as references. The indictment says emails showed that when tribes checked his references and asked questions about his work history, the fake references forwarded the emails to Fourcloud, who “answered” the emails and sent them back to the fake references, who then submitted them to the tribes.
• Fourcloud was reimbursed by the Passamaquoddy Tribe for work travel to Sacramento, but gas station receipts and mileage on his rental car indicate he never left the San Jose area.
Passamaquoddy officials have said they checked Fourcloud’s references but did not do a criminal background check.
Even after he was fired, Fourcloud sought tribal employment elsewhere. On the day in January when he was due in court in Calais on charges connected to his time with the Passamaquoddy Tribe, he was interviewing in northern California for a position as chief financial officer for a small tribe.
Officials there said they were within hours of hiring him when they learned of his embezzlement sentence and firing in Maine.
The Passamaquoddy tribal offices were closed late Friday afternoon, and emails to tribal officials for comment were not returned. An attorney who represented Fourcloud in Maine in the past did not return phone calls.
Noel K. Gallagher can be contacted at 791-6387 or at: