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U.S. official confirms investigation on Ute Mountain Ute reservation

A U.S. Justice Department spokesperson has confirmed that federal officials are actively investigating a case on the Ute Mountain Ute reservation southwest of Cortez.

After receiving a tip about a possible financial scheme on Friday, The Journal sought confirmation from Jeff Dorschner, a public affairs official with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Denver.

“You’ve stumbled into an active investigation,” Dorschner said via telephone.

Dorschner said no one had been arrested or detained Friday morning, Oct. 2, in connection with the investigation. He declined to comment on the nature of the investigation.

A Ute Mountain Ute tribal member, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said several finance department employees were escorted from their offices late Wednesday afternoon by “security.” The tribal member said the investigation centered on “misuse of funds.”

Ute Mountain Ute attorney Peter Ortego was out of the office and unavailable for comment, and attempts to reach Ute Mountain Ute Chairman Manuel Heart on Friday morning were unsuccessful.

tbaker@the-journal.com

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