Michael Thomas files notice of appeal

Michael Thomas, the former Mashantucket Pequot tribal chairman convicted of stealing from the tribe that owns Foxwoods Resort Casino, has filed notice of an appeal.

An attorney for Thomas, Steven Rasile of West Haven, said Tuesday he was "looking at the case" and declined to say whether the appeal — to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals — would involve the guilty verdicts in the case or Thomas' sentencing.

Convicted of one count of theft from an Indian tribal organization and two counts of theft from an Indian tribal government receiving federal funds, Thomas faces 18 months in prison.

He is scheduled to surrender to authorities Jan. 14.

The notice, filed last week in U.S. District Court in New Haven, indicates Thomas is appealing the judgment entered Nov. 22 by Judge Janet Bond Arterton. Arterton imposed a sentence calling for 18 months in prison followed by 36 months of supervised release.

The sentence also calls for Thomas to make restitution to the tribe in an amount to be determined at a hearing next week.

A jury found Thomas guilty in July of embezzling more than $100,000 from the tribe through the misuse of a tribe-issued American Express card to pay for personal expenses. The card was to be used only for business purposes.

Trial testimony showed most of the credit card charges were for private transportation Thomas arranged for his ailing mother, who traveled between her Mashantucket home and a dialysis center in New London.

The misuse of the card occurred from October 2007 to September 2009 while Thomas was chairman of the tribe.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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