Leader of alleged Cherokee tribe on trial for fraud

The self-proclaimed chief of the Southern Cherokee Nation is on trial on 41 counts of conspiracy, tax evasion, wire fraud and money laundering.

Rodger D. Griggs, who calls himself Chief Obobaway, is accused of defrauding investors of money. But testifying in his own defense, he said he was setting up orphanages to provide homes for Indian orphans.

Griggs, whose wife is also on trial, said his tribe signed a treaty with Thomas Jefferson in 1827. A federal prosecutor pointed out that Jefferson died in 1826.

The Southern Cherokee Nation is based in Alabama and is not state or federally recognized. The group is not affiliated with the Cherokee Nation or the Eastern Band of Cherokees.

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Defendant defiant in tax, fraud trial (The South Bend Tribune 4/20)