ARC professor pleads guilty to defrauding American Indian tribe

Offices for the United Auburn Indian Community are in a series of buildings that were built utilizing general contractor Bart Volen. ARC professor Greg Baker pled guilty on Nov. 5 to knowingly approving inflated invoices submitted to the UAIC by Volen. (Photo by John Ferrannini)

By John Ferrannini and Barbara Harvey

An American River College professor has been placed on leave after he pled guilty to his role in defrauding over $17 million from an American Indian tribe in federal court on Nov. 5.

Business professor Greg Baker, 48, was the tribal administrator for the United Auburn Indian Community (UAIC). As part of a plea agreement, Baker pled guilty to money laundering, submitting a false tax return and conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud for his role in the scheme which took place in 2006 and 2007.

Baker personally received $1.4 million in kickbacks, according to a press release from the United States Attorney’s office.

According to the press release, Baker knowingly approved false invoices from a construction project being worked on by developer Bart Wayne Volen. Baker approved the invoices along with Darrell Hinz, who was an employee of the UAIC responsible for quality control.

In exchange, Hinz paid for Baker’s trip to Hawaii as well as for “the installation of a swimming pool at Baker’s residence, and for Baker’s purchase of a luxury automobile, several rental properties, and a condominium in the South Lake Tahoe area.”

The construction is now complete on a site in Placer County that includes a school, offices and a community center.

Baker, who was initially indicted in 2012, was teaching four classes at ARC until the day he entered his plea. He was then put on leave, according to Ryan Cox of the Los Rios district’s human resources office.

Cox could not confirm the reason for the leave, saying it was “a private personnel matter.” Other professors have taken over Baker’s classes.

Tim Kovar has taken over Baker’s Introduction to Business class on Monday and Wednesday mornings. ARC student Nolan Cyr said that although Kovar couldn’t say why Baker was suddenly absent, students quickly found out.

“Somebody did ask,” said Cyr. “They didn’t tell us, but you Google it.”

Doug Elmets, a spokesperson for the UAIC, said that it “is the ultimate irony” that one of Baker’s classes — Introduction to Management Functions — covers business ethics.

“The UAIC put their trust in Greg Baker and Greg Baker violated that trust,” said Elmets. “The tribe is now relieved to see that Greg Baker’s lying has finally ended with his admission of guilt.”

According to the press release, Baker filed false tax returns from 2006 to 2009 that led to a loss of “between $250,000 and $550,000” for the U.S. government.

As part of the plea agreement, the federal government said that it would dismiss the rest of the 18 counts of indictment against Baker at sentencing.

The agreement also stipulates that the government will recommend a sentence of 78 months (or, approximately 6 and one-half years) for Baker, whose sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 17.

Baker and Volen have agreed to pay at least $17 million in restitution to the tribe.

Baker’s attorney, Thomas Johnson, declined to make Baker available for comment.

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About the Author

John Ferrannini
John Ferrannini is a fourth-semester student on the Current, where he serves as Editor-in-chief. He previously served as managing editor and News editor. John is majoring in journalism and plans to transfer to Sacramento State.

1 Comment on "ARC professor pleads guilty to defrauding American Indian tribe"

  1. OK, someone help me with this. Lots of people do ethnic DNA testing now, it’s become somewhat fashionable. Autosomal, mtDNA, and y-DNA tests are available at varying prices depending on the company. Autosomal goes back maybe 500 years tops, mt and y-DNA can trace back a customer’s chromosome’s roots maybe 40,000 years or more depending on the haplogroup and mutations.

    But Native Americans have been proven to be exactly not that, native to the Americas. Be there y-DNA haplogroups Q, A, B, or D, they originate in Eastern Europe, China, and Siberia. They aren’t found to have begun in the New World. At all. Final.

    So why hasn’t our academia been updated with all this new science? Why are we still taught that the Native Americans are native to the Americas? They are simply migrants who beat the rest of European travelers here by milennia or so. Of course, that’s skipping the Solutrean hypothesis, but still if the Solutreans existed they, too, weren’t native.

    And why arent’ there any native American human ethnic groups? Even the Neanderthals were from Europe, not America. This fact itself is worth a dozen courses added to a school’s curriculum.

    I mean, I’d take those classes. In the meantime, what’s insulting to the Indians? Being called Native Americans or immigrants? Really now. That’s like deleting their ACT scores and then saying they never really tested at all. Now that’s real discrimination and ethnic profiling!

    [Reply]

    Kent Reply:

    Native Americans are the only race of Americans. They are Native because they have evolved over thousands of years, by DNA mutations, thousands of Different languages, thousands of different cultures, thousands of civilizations. These all happened over tens of thousands of years, not a few thousand. The Native Americans languages, Genetics, and civilizations are all arose in the Americas Autochthoniously, they evolved in The double continents. They are indigenous and Native to America and European Americans are not, they have no respect for the land and animals in America, and have no real ties not respect for anything in it. You are just another jealous yank, who thinks they should be considered Native American. Native Americans have no close genetic ties to Asia , Africa , or Europe. And any other close relatives in Asia died out when the East Asians moved in. Also there was a back migration into Asia from America, that’s why there are Asians and Europeans with Native American genetic markers as seen in Autosomal DNA tests. Every language spoken in America before the European invading hordes came arose in place, and like I said, there is thousands. There is only one American race, and that is the Native American race. For you to post in an article that has nothing to do with what you are espousing , you must really be feeling inferior and jealous of Native Americans and your status as a European immigrant invader colonist, why else would you be posting here to whine ” But Native Americans are immigrants too” ! Quit bitching, because you will never be native to America, and the Native Americans always will!.

    [Reply]

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