A former member of the Tribal Council for the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and his wife pleaded guilty on Thursday in a money laundering case, federal officials announced.

Kevin Edwards, 48, of Walnut Grove, and his wife Sheena A. Edwards, 45, were indicted by a federal grand jury on Sept. 10, 2019.

They were charged with defrauding the Tribal government, as well as misleading a federally insured bank with intent to obtain loans, according to a news release.

Kevin Edwards is a former Tribal Council member who left office in June 2017, the news release said. 

Between March 2015 and June 2017, the couple allegedly forged hotel bills and receipts, and submitted those documents to the Tribal government in claims for reimbursement for official business travel by Kevin Edwards, the news release said. 

After receiving the unlawful payments from the tribal government, the couple cashed and transferred the payments to multiple bank accounts and paid off personal loans in the name of Sheena Edwards, officials said in the news release.

Kevin Edwards and Sheena Edwards each entered a plea of guilty to one count of conspiracy to launder money, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Each may also face a fine of up to $250,000 and up to three years of supervised release.

Sentencing hearings for both defendants are set to take place before United States District Judge Henry T. Wingate on May 11 at the Thad Cochran U.S. Courthouse, in Jackson. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Theodore Cooperstein.

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