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Ex-comptroller sentenced to 2 years in prison for stealing from Yavapai-Apache Nation

Razor wire covers a fence at a correctional facility.
Mark Lennihan
Razor wire covers a fence at a correctional facility.

A former comptroller has been sentenced to two years in prison for embezzling more than $670,000 from a tribal organization, federal authorities said Tuesday.

They said 36-year-old Savannah Sandoval, of Camp Verde, also was ordered to pay more than $650,000 restitution to the Yavapai-Apache Nation.

Prosecutors said Sandoval pleaded guilty in August to embezzlement and theft from the tribe and was sentenced last week.

As comptroller and executive director of the Yavapai-Apache Nation Housing Department in the Camp Verde area of north-central Arizona, Sandoval was the supervisor of the accounting department and oversaw day-to-day activities and financial transactions.

Authorities said she had access to housing department credit cards and knowledge of its vendor accounts.

It was discovered last year that there had been hundreds of thousands of dollars in fraudulent purchases on tribal credit cards.

Authorities said that on at least 184 occasions, funds were fraudulently transferred by Sandoval into her personal accounts.

Between August 2017 and May 2022, Sandoval was accused of embezzling $670,908 from the tribe including over $133,000 of the Department of Housing and Urban Development Indian Housing Block Grant Funds.