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Prosecutors expand case against Navajo Nation lawmaker accused of funneling money to family


WINDOW ROCK, Arizona — Prosecutors have filed seven more criminal charges against a Navajo Nation lawmaker in an investigation of a now-defunct discretionary fund.

Mel Begay faces 16 charges in tribal court, including conspiracy to commit fraud, conflict of interest, and permitting a false voucher.

Criminal complaints allege that Begay illegally authorized payments to his children. Those include $1,800 for a school band trip that already was funded and more than $800 in costs for summer school tuition that didn't exist.

Regardless, tribal law prohibits nepotism. Prosecutors say Begay and his children never disclosed their relationship.

Begay's arraignment is scheduled Aug. 10. He has said the charges are unwarranted.

Criminal charges or ethics violations have been filed against nearly 30 others in the investigation, alleging misuse of more than $1.1 million.

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