Former executives charged with theft from Chippewa Cree Tribe


John "Chance" Houle, a former chairman of the Chippewa Cree Tribe of Montana, is identified -- but not charged -- as a participant in an alleged theft scheme involving the tribe's online lending firm.

Two former executives of an online lending firm that was created by the Chippewa Cree Tribe of Montana have been charged in federal court.

Neal Rosette and Billi Anne Morsette served as chief executive officer and the chief operating officer, respectively, of First American Capital Resources. Both are accused of writing checks to themselves and to entities controlled by the former head of an "oversight board" for the lending firm.

The head of the board was John "Chance" Houle, a former chairman and council member for the tribe. He is identified in the indictment but not charged, possibly because already has been sentenced to 68 months in federal prison for his role in a wide-ranging corruption scandal on the Rocky Boy's Reservation.

First American Capital Resources has since become known as Plain Green Loans. Rosette and Morsette worked for the new firm but eventually left, the Associated Press reported.

Even after they departed, Rosette and Morsette each received a cut of Plain Green's revenues as part of a secret arrangement, the AP reported. The payments stopped in August 2013 after the tribe learned about them. At that point, Rosette claimed that the tribe only received 4.5 percent of revenues from the lending operation.

The alleged thefts occurred in September and October of 2010, according to the indictment. Rosette and Morsette, who appeared in federal court on Tuesday, pleaded not guilty to the charges, the AP reported.

As part of the Guardians Project, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Montana has indicted more than two dozen Chippewa Cree leaders, employees and associates on the reservation. The effort has put Montana on top of a nationwide list of judicial districts with the most government corruption prosecutions.

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Former tribal lending executives charged with embezzlement (AP 8/25)

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