Former Tribal Police Chief Pleads Guilty to Theft of Tribal Funds

Used Money Paid to Police Department for Personal Benefit and Abused Tribal Credit Card

U.S. Attorney’s Office July 29, 2015
  • Western District of Washington (206) 553-7970

The former Police Chief of the Swinomish Tribe pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to theft of tribal funds, announced United States Attorney Annette L. Hayes. THOMAS J. SCHLICKER, 57, of Stanwood, Washington, served as the Swinomish Police Chief from 1997 until September 2014, when his employment was terminated. SCHLICKER admits he stole more than $30,000 that belonged to the tribe. Sentencing before U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour is scheduled for November 10, 2015

According to the plea agreement, between 2008 and 2014 SCHLICKER set up a secret bank account in the name of the Swinomish Police Department, without the knowledge of the tribal accounting department. SCHLICKER then deposited checks made out to the tribal police into the secret account and withdrew the proceeds in cash, which he then used for his own purposes. SCHLICKER also used the Tribe’s Chevron/Texaco credit card to purchase gas for his and his family members’ personal vehicles. The total loss to the Swinomish Tribe is $33,622.

Theft of tribal funds is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The case was investigated by the FBI and the Washington State Patrol. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Seth Wilkinson and Ye-Ting Woo.

Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Public Affairs Officer Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or

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