Crime - Sacto 911

Man sentenced in scheme against Indian tribe that owns Thunder Valley casino

Bart Wayne Volen, one of three men who stole at least $18 million from the Indian tribe that owns Thunder Valley Casino Resort near Lincoln, was sentenced Thursday in Sacramento federal court to 8 1/2 years in prison.

Volen, a general contractor hired by the United Auburn Indian Community to finish building its headquarters complex in Auburn, teamed with Gregory Scott Baker, then the tribe’s administrator, and Darrell Patrick Hinz, retained by the tribe as the building project’s manager, to overbill for project work and material. The criminal activity did not directly involve the casino.

Between October 2006 and December 2007, Volen submitted for payment inflated cost proposals, falsely inflated change order invoices, or invoices for work that was never done. Volen paid Baker and Hinz to approve the false cost proposals/invoices. Volen paid Hinz approximately $7.8 million. Hinz, in turn, paid Baker approximately $1.4 million.

Volen, 57, of San Diego, pleaded guilty more than two years ago to three felonies and agreed to cooperate with the government in its prosecution of Baker and Hinz.

Baker, 49, of Newcastle, pleaded guilty last year and was sentenced in June to five years and four months in prison. Hinz, 51, of Cameron Park, pleaded guilty last year and was sentenced in June to eight years in prison.

Given the opportunity to speak at Thursday’s hearing, Volen muttered an apology to the tribe.

“The full extent of the damage probably never will be known,” Calvin Moman, a member of the UAIC’s tribal council, told U. S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley.

Nunley set a restitution hearing for Oct. 13. The government has seized millions of dollars in cash and property from Volen.

Denny Walsh: 916-321-1189

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