A former leader with the Choctaw Nation has been sentenced to a total of 12 years in federal prison and must pay almost $600,000 in restitution after being found guilty of conspiracy to commit theft, theft and money laundering, among other crimes.
Jason Brent Merida, 40, is the former executive director of construction for the tribe. He must repay funds to the Choctaw Nation and Internal Review Service, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.
Prosecutors said he got money, trips, a Cadillac Escalade and even plumbing fixtures and cattle guards from subcontractors who worked on tribal projects. He's the eighth person to be convicted in a scheme that was uncovered during a routine audit, authorities say. Others convicted include former Flintco and former Builders Steel executives.
In all, the tribe lost an estimated $7 million.