Two weeks ago I wrote about Ronald A. Roberts, who calls himself Chief Golden Eagle. I wrote:
Times are difficult for Sachem Golden Eagle of the Western Mohegan Indian tribe. It seems that he is not a sachem and not even an Indian. His name isn't Golden Eagle; it is Ronald A. Roberts. Now he is awaiting sentencing on his recent conviction for filing false documents. The documents in question were the "proof" of his claims of having Native American ancestry.
Prosecutors expected that Roberts would receive a jail term for persuading people to invest $3.5 million into the faded Tamarack Lodge in Ellenville, N.Y., on the strength that he could open a casino there once his group was recognized by the federal government. His scheme was based upon forged documents that claimed to show Roberts' Indian ancestry. Government genealogists were able to quickly trace his true ancestry, however. They found no Indian ancestors although they did find that he is eligible for membership in the Sons of the American Revolution.
While Roberts could have faced up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count, a probation office report recommended only 15 to 21 months. Federal prosecutors recommended more prison time, 51 to 63 months.
This week Judge Lawrence E. Kahn of Federal District Court rejected arguments by prosecutors that Mr. Roberts had tried to obstruct justice and had never fully accepted responsibility for his crimes. The judge announced his sentence: six months of house arrest, five years of probation, a $200 fine, and a requirement that he repay $27,900 he owes to a bank.
Mr. Roberts still maintains that he is a descendant of Indians, even though he now acknowledges that the documents he presented were forged.