By Denny Walsh
A grand jury indictment unsealed Friday in Sacramento federal court charges three men with conspiring to rip off more than $18 million from the United Auburn Indian Community, which owns the lucrative Thunder Valley Casino Resort in Lincoln.
Bart Wayne Volen, Greg Scott Baker, and Darrell Patrick Hinz are accused of using their strategic positions to unlawfully inflate charges paid by the tribe in 2006 and 2007 for work on a four-building construction project on property owned by the tribe on Indian Hills Road in Auburn.
All three are charged with conspiracy, wire fraud and money laundering.
The grand jury returned the indictment Aug. 9, but it was sealed at the request of the government.
Volen, 53, of San Diego and Haiku, Hawaii, was arrested Friday at the San Francisco International Airport by Internal Revenue Service agents.
Shortly thereafter, the indictment was unsealed.
No-bail arrest warrants were issued for all three defendants the day the indictment was returned. It was not clear late Friday whether Baker, 45, of Newcastle, and Hinz, 47, of Cameron Park, have been arrested.
The matter first surfaced publicly in March, when the U.S. attorney's office filed civil complaints seeking forfeiture of 20 properties in the counties of El Dorado, Glenn, Placer, Sacramento and San Diego, and a piece of property in Maui, Hawaii. The complaints contend the properties were purchased with funds traceable to the purported fraud or with funds involved in money laundering transactions. In June, the office filed additional civil complaints on the same grounds, seeking forfeiture of a 2010 Mercedes-Benz, a mobile home, various investment shares, a $2.4 million promissory note, ownership interests in a business, and more than $170,000 in cash.