A former Yurok Tribe forestry director charged in August by the U.S. Attorney's Office with embezzling nearly $1 million from the tribe has been released from jail.

U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman Jack Gillund said Roland Raymond, 49, was released from jail Monday.

”He was released on a $50,000 personal recognizance bond secured by signatures of his wife and mother,” Gillund said.

He said the U.S. Attorney's Office has no further comment on the case.

The Humboldt County jail confirmed that Raymond was released Monday.

Raymond declined to comment Tuesday, and deferred all questions to his attorney.

Eureka attorney Randall Davis, who is representing Raymond, said he couldn't speak for the prosecutor, but that Raymond was likely released because he's expected to successfully comply with the terms of his discharge.

”I believe the conditions of release and the events over time have greatly reduced his concern that Roland would be a flight risk,” Davis said.

He said Raymond is bound by typical restrictions, such as not being able to travel outside of the northern district of the state. He's also required to maintain contact with his pre-trial services officer.

Davis said he expects both sides to reach an agreement in the near future.

”The prosecutor is preparing a settlement proposal, and I anticipate I'll receive that fairly soon,” Davis said.

Raymond and two biologists are accused of using an elaborate system of fake invoices, false purchase requests and electronic bank transfers to embezzle more than $870,000 in federal funds from the Yurok Tribe during a three-year period of wildlife preservation studies. Raymond is suspected of embezzling additional funds from the tribe and the California Indian Forest and Fire Management Council through other false purchase requests, putting the embezzlement total in the $1 million range. He has pleaded not guilty in the case.

In August, a federal judge granted the prosecuting attorney's request to keep Raymond in custody. Previous prosecuting attorney Phil Kearney, an assistant attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice, argued at the time that Raymond was a flight risk, an active narcotics user and a gambler.

Raymond was a fugitive from Feb. 23 to April 5, after authorities served search warrants at his home on the 2200 block of Hillcrest Avenue just outside Eureka city limits. He was wanted on a $1 million warrant before he turned himself in to authorities.

Raymond's is scheduled to be arraigned Dec. 10 at the federal courthouse in Eureka. If convicted in the case, he faces five years in prison, $250,000 in fines and a three-year term of supervised release. His next appearance in the related state case is Jan. 8.

Eureka attorney Patrik Griego, who is defending Raymond in the state matter, said the Del Norte County District Attorney's Office is planning to dismiss the state case without prejudice.

”They know the feds have picked up the case against Raymond,” Griego said.

Del Norte County District Attorney Jon Alexander has said in the past that the alleged embezzlement mostly consisted of federal money, and that federal court is the appropriate venue for the case.

Gillund said he couldn't confirm or deny whether federal charges have been filed against biologists Sean McAllister and Ron LeValley, who Del Norte County prosecutors and an FBI agent investigating the case allege conspired with Raymond to embezzle the funds from the Yurok Tribe through the consulting company Mad River Biologists. Both McAllister and LeValley have pleaded not guilty to state embezzlement and conspiracy charges.

Eureka attorney Greg Rael, who is representing McAllister, said he had not heard if federal prosecutors plan to charge his client.

McAllister and LeValley are due back in Del Norte County Superior Court on Jan. 8.


Megan Hansen can be reached at 441-0511 or mhansen@times-standard.com.