Two of three charges have been dropped in the criminal case against William Bills, the Filipino who, for a time, headed a Nevada tribe.

California Superior Court Judge David Warner dismissed charges of fraud and identity theft but left standing a charge of attempted grand theft.

Bills was arrested Sept. 27 after he allegedly told Wells Fargo bank employees that he wanted to gain access to the Winnemucca Indian Colony’s bank account. The bank informed police, who arrested Bills when he returned to the bank.

At the time of his arrest, Bills—calling himself head of the Winnemucca tribe—was trying to sell California officials on a tribal casino along Interstate 5 in Flag City, west of Lodi.

Bills served on the Winnemucca tribal council and as acting council chair for a time, but then it was learned that he is the adopted son of a tribe member and a full blooded Filipino once known as William Gutierrez. Shortly before a tribal council meeting on the fate of Bills’ tribal status, Bills critic and council chair Glenn Wasson was murdered on tribal land. Bills, as vice chair, became acting chair.

However, the tribe’s attorney and the Bureau of Indian Affairs say his term of office has long since expired.

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Dennis Myers

Dennis Myers was the news editor of the Reno News & Review. He was a journalist for more than four decades. In 1987-88 he was chief deputy secretary of state of Nevada. He was coauthor of Uniquely...