- Associated Press - Friday, May 6, 2016

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - A former head of the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts has been accused of embezzling thousands of dollars raised by Native American artists to benefit victims of a 2011 tsunami in Japan.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports (http://bit.ly/1Xcp7Od ) that John Torres Nez was indicted Tuesday on an embezzlement charge in connection to the $37,000 raised in a benefit art auction.

Torres Nez, who now lives in California, said Thursday that he was unaware of the charge but that the benefit funds from 2011 were giving to the Red Cross.

Prosecutors say they began looking into Torres Nez and the fundraiser after a number of artists said they were concerned because they didn’t receive tax documents on the contributions.

Officials with the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts were not available for comment.

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Information from: The Santa Fe New Mexican, http://www.sfnewmexican.com

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