Brian James Brown, the former head of a charity advocating for Native Americans, pleaded not guilty Monday to charges that he stole $4 million from the organization.
According to a report in The Oregonian, Brown was arrested on Sunday at Portland International Airport, just as he was returning from a month-long trip to Thailand. Authorities say that his excursion was paid for, in part, by the funds allegedly stolen from National Relief Charities (NRC).
The arrest comes 11 days after a federal grand jury in Portland handed up an indictment against Brown, which charged him and unnamed co-conspirators with attempting to defraud NRC. The indictment further stated that Brown stepped down as head of the organization in 2005 to form his own nonprofit, Charity One Inc., which did business as the American Indian Education Endowment Fund.
Brown allegedly convinced NRC to fund Charity One with $4 million from 2006 to 2009, saying the funds would be used to offer scholarships to Native Americans.
"Instead," the government wrote in a news release, "Brown and unnamed co-conspirators allegedly used the entire $4 million for their personal benefit."
To keep the checks of either $100,000 or $200,000 coming in, Brown allegedly delivered falsified financial statements to prove that the money was being used appropriately.
Brown was allowed to go free after his arraignment as he awaits his Dec. 17 trial. He was ordered by U.S. Magistrate Judge Dennis J. Hubel to surrender his passport, wear a GPS ankle monitor, and stay at home from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.
You can read the full report in The Oregonian.