Bee reporters answer questions about area crime news, trends and other issues.
QUESTION: What's the status of the trio arrested and arraigned on charges related to the United Auburn Indian Community construction fraud?
Submitted by: CC, Rocklin
ANSWER: Bart Wayne Volen, Gregory Scott Baker and Darrell Patrick Hinz are awaiting trial in federal court in Sacramento, accused of stealing more than $18 million from the United Auburn Indian Community, which owns the Thunder Valley Casino Resort in Lincoln.
According to online court records, all have pleaded not guilty and their next court date, for a status conference, is Dec. 5.
In August 2012, the three men were charged with conspiring to commit mail and wire fraud and money laundering as part of a scheme to defraud the United Auburn Indian Community. Charges of filing false tax returns were added in April.
According to the federal grand jury indictment, Volen, a general contractor and developer who resides in San Diego and Hawaii, was hired to finish construction of a school, community center and administrative offices on property owned by the United Auburn Indian Community on Indian Hill Road in Auburn. He allegedly submitted false and inflated invoices, supported with inflated cost proposals from his general contractor's company, SPB, and at times, inflated invoices from various subcontractors.
Baker, of Newcastle, and Hinz, of Cameron Park, were United Auburn Indian Community employees. Baker was the tribal administrator, whose duties included overseeing the Indian Hill office project. Hinz was a contract employee hired to manage quality control and construction at the project site.
The indictment alleges that Baker and Hinz engaged in conduct to ensure that the tribal council would pay for the inflated and fraudulent invoices that Volen submitted. Both allegedly were paid by Volen for their participation in the scheme.
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