(Note: This article was updated on Friday, May 12 with new information from the U.S. Attorney’s Office regarding Mr. Armachain’s hearing.)
By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
Phillip S. Armachain Sr., 50, an EBCI tribal member and local bail bondsmen, was arrested by federal officials on Wednesday, May 10 on various allegations involving repayment of loans. He was named in a 10-page Criminal Complaint on the charges of forced labor and sexual abuse of a minor in Indian Country.
The Complaint alleges, “The Cherokee Indian Police Department (CIPD) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have learned that enrolled members of the EBCI doing business with Armachain are sending their per capita casino distribution checks to Armachain as collateral for personal loans and to repay bond fees. Additionally, three women have disclosed that they participated in sexual intercourse or other sexual acts with Armachain in return for their bond fees or to have their personal loans from Armachain paid.”
It continues, “Armachain is also known to loan money at an interest rate of one hundred percent.”
The Complaint further alleges that Armachain instructed individuals to change the address to which their EBCI per capita distribution was sent to his Post Office box, and it is went on to allege that he “requests power of attorney from the loan recipients in order to cash the per capita checks”.
According to the Complaint, over 300 checks, totaling over 150 EBCI tribal members, were mailed to his Post Office box in the year 2015.
A total of four women were referenced in the Criminal Complaint, identified as Victim Number One (V1), Victim Number Two (V2), Victim Number Three (V3), and Victim Number Four (V4).
The Complaint alleges, “In August of 2016, V1 participated in sexual intercourse with Armachain in return for a $400 loan. Due to the sexual intercourse, Armachain did not make V1 repay the loan.”
V2 allegedly was bonded out of jail by Armachain and the Complaint alleges “…V2 participated in sexual intercourse with Armachain to pay for the bond. V2 never had to pay for the bond and Armachain told V2 to ‘keep it between you and me’ and that ‘maybe we can do this again sometime’”.
Of V3, the Complaint stated, “V3 stated that she participated in sexual intercourse with Armachain ‘so I would not have to pay loans and bonds’.” It further alleges, “V3 would try to avoid having sexual intercourse with Armachain but told investigators ‘He made me do it’.”
V4, a minor who had not obtained the age of 16, alleged sexual abuse. The Complaint states that V4 was taken to Armachain’s residence by her mother on “number occasions”. It went on to allege, “Armachain would not loan money to the mother unless she brought V4 to pick up the money. The mother waited in the vehicle and send V4 inside to obtain the loan money.”
The Complaint went on to say, “V4 stated that the sexual abuse happened every time she was dropped off to obtain loan money from Armachain.”
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Armachain was still in federal custody on Friday, May 12. He was originally scheduled for a Preliminary Hearing and Detention Hearing on Friday, May 12 at 9:45am in Courtroom 2, 100 Otis St., Asheville before Magistrate Judge Dennis Howell, but that hearing was moved to Wednesday, May 17 at 10:30 because, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Armachain had not yet retained an attorney.