A plea deal is being arranged for former Yurok Tribe forestry director Roland Raymond, who is accused of embezzling around $1 million from the Yurok Tribe during a three-year period of wildlife preservation studies.

In a hearing Tuesday, defense attorney Randall Davis said both sides have reached an agreement.

”We're pretty far along in that process,” Davis said after the hearing. “We completely anticipate there will be a plea agreement.”

An arraignment is scheduled for Nov. 1. Raymond currently faces five years in prison, $250,000 in fines and a three-year term of supervised release.

U.S. Attorney David Callaway, who is prosecuting the case, told U.S. Magistrate Judge Nandor Vadas he expected the plea deal would resolve the case at the felony level.

Raymond still faces state charges, but Eureka attorney Patrik Griego, who is defending Raymond in the state matter, said he expects those charges to be dismissed at a hearing in Del Norte County on Thursday.

Raymond remains in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

Raymond and biologists Sean McAllister and Ron LeValley 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.

Del Norte County District Attorney Jon Alexander said his office plans to dismiss the state charges against LeValley, McAllister and Raymond and that the U.S. Attorneys' Office will take over prosecution. As of Wednesday, federal charges were not filed for LeValley and McAllister, though Alexander said the U.S. Attorneys' Office intended to file them.

Alexander said the alleged embezzlement mostly consisted of federal money and that federal court was the appropriate venue to prosecute. He added that he would be dismissing the charges without prejudice, meaning that if he feels that justice was not served on the federal level he can bring state charges back against the three accused.

LeValley and McAllister are due in Del Norte County Superior Court on Thursday for a status hearing in their case.

Eureka attorney Greg Rael, who is defending McAllister, said he had not heard if federal prosecutors plan to charge his client, and he expected the matter to be continued at Thursday's hearing.

”They're just waiting to see where the feds are at,” Rael said. “We'll be the last to know, it feels like.”


Grant Scott-Goforth can be reached at 441-0514 or gscott-goforth@times-standard.com.