Stanwood man pleads guilty to stealing from Swinomish tribe

A Stanwood man who formerly was the chief of the Swinomish tribe’s police department pleaded guilty in federal court in Seattle on Wednesday to theft of tribal funds, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Thomas J. Schlicker, 57, admitted to stealing $33,622 from the Skagit County tribe. According to a plea agreement, Schlicker set up a secret bank account in the name of the Swinomish Police Department,deposited checks made out to the tribal police into it, and withdrew the proceeds in cash. He also used the tribe’s Chevron/Texaco credit card to purchase gas for his and his family members’ personal vehicles.

Schlicker is scheduled to be sentenced before U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour on Nov. 10. Theft of tribal funds is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

He served as Swinomish police chief from 1997 until September 2014, when he was fired. The case was investigated by the FBI and the Washington State Patrol.

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