Chief Wahoo protester charged with theft of grant money

CLEVELAND (AP) A man who has held protests saying the Cleveland Indians' Chief Wahoo mascot is racist faces federal charges over allegations he stole money from federal grants aimed at helping Native Americans.

Seventy-year-old Robert Roche, of Cleveland, was indicted Wednesday on one count of conspiracy to steal federal funds and two counts of theft from programs receiving federal funds.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Cleveland says a lengthy investigation showed that Roche conspired to divert money from the American Indian Education Center in suburban Cleveland where he served as executive director.

Prosecutors say Roche and a consultant embezzled at least $180,000 from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration grants and that Roche diverted $77,000 for his personal use.

Roche couldn't be reached for comment Thursday. It wasn't clear who his lawyer is.

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