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A federal appeals court has overturned the embezzlement convictions of a former tribal manager and members of his family who allegedly stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from Texas' first legal casino.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans issued a ruling Tuesday overturning on procedural grounds the conspiracy and theft convictions of Isidro Garza Jr.; his wife, Martha; and son, Timoteo, a former state representative.

Garza, the former manager of the Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas, was given vast financial oversight of the tribe and the casino near Eagle Pass from 1996 until he was ousted in 2002. He, family members and other tribal employees — the so-called Kickapoo Seven — were indicted in 2004 for allegedly misappropriating funds from the lucrative casino operation for personal purchases and their political aspirations.

The appellate court, however, ruled that the 2007 trial of Garza, his wife and son was wrongly moved to Waco, creating undue hardship by forcing witnesses, family members and attorneys to travel more than 300 miles for the proceedings.


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