FBI looks at Snyder in land fraud case
By Dan Herbeck and Michael Beebe
News Staff Reporters
January 10, 2010, 12:11 AM / 3 comments

A former attorney for Barry E. Snyder Sr., the powerful president of the Seneca Nation of Indians, admitted Friday that he embezzled $202,000 from the Senecas in a land fraud case involving the Senecas' Hickory Stick Golf Course.

The federal court plea from disbarred lawyer Timothy J. Toohey is expected to be followed by charges against Bergal Mitchell III, Snyder's former vice chairman of the Seneca Gaming Corp., according to Mitchell's attorneys. Mitchell and his wife were paid nearly $350,000 in the alleged land fraud.

And FBI agents named Snyder as one of a dozen people they were seeking information about when they raided the law offices of Lewiston attorney Michael J. Dowd, who put the land deal together.

Is Snyder, for decades the most powerful businessman and office holder in the Seneca Nation, also a target of the ongoing federal investigation?

Prosecutors and FBI agents decline to say whether Snyder or anyone else will be charged in the case, but court documents obtained by The Buffalo News last week indicate that Snyder is under investigation.

dherbeck@buffnews.com and mbeebe@buffnews.com

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