Alleged leader of Nevada tribe cleared of charges

William Bills, a 46-year-old man claiming to be the chief of the Winnemucca Indian Colony in Nevada, was cleared of fraud and forgery charges by county prosecutors.

Bills had been charged after inquiring about the tribe's bank account. But since he didn't actually try to withdraw money, he committee no crime, his public defender said.

Bills is Filipino by blood but has been adopted into the tribe. He claimed control of the tiny Winnemucca tribe after the murder of former chairman Glenn Wasson, who had been disputing Bills' legitimacy shortly before he was killed in February 2000. The crime remains unsolved.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs doesn't recognize a leader of the tribe, estimated to have less than 50 members. But Bills has been running a smoke shop and touting plans for an off-reservation casino in California.

Get the Story:
Charges against tribe leader dropped (The Stockton Record 4/18)

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