FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Gallup Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division was recognized recently for its efforts to address fraud schemes targeting Indigenous communities.
At the National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association’s award ceremony, held Nov. 7 in Dallas, Tx., Lt. Anthony Seciwa and Sgt. Andrea Tsosie were recognized for the Division’s efforts to address “sober home” fraud schemes. The NHAFA recognized the “exemplary efforts and remarkable collaboration” of the GPD, Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety and Federal Bureau of Investigations with the 2023 Excellence in Public Awareness Award.
“Gallup has incredible men and women working to protect our community, and it is great to see their hard work recognized at the national level,” GPD Chief Erin Toadlena Pablo said. “Our department has closely collaborated with our partners in law enforcement to respond to this emerging issue and we are dedicated to continuing this work to keep our community and neighbors safe.”
The award recognizes that police officers from Gallup were the first to notify the FBI Albuquerque Field Office of unhoused Indigenous persons disappearing from the community. Investigations held by the GPD and its law enforcement partners revealed the people were being “targeted, recruited, and transported” to Arizona, where they were promised treatment and support in sober houses. The scheme involved billing for medical and treatment services that were not rendered.
“Our department has been at the forefront of working to prevent and investigate these cases,” Chief
Pablo said, referencing the department’s involvement in the Missing or Murdered Indigenous Persons Initiative launched by the FBI in 2022. “We actively engage with families, community members and a wide range of organizations to provide tips and information to prevent these unfortunate situations before they happen.”
The award recognizes that the GPD, FBI, and Navajo Nation DPS collectively worked to promote public awareness around these issues through use of websites, social media campaigns, briefings, reports, surveys, trainings and significant face-to-face engagement with communities.
The GPD and its partners continue to investigate cases of missing persons and health care fraud schemes. If you would like more information about how to protect yourself and loved ones, or where to report suspicious information, please contact Metro Dispatch at 505-722-2002 or Number 988.