More executives targeted in Chippewa Cree Tribe criminal probe


The offices of the Chippewa Cree Tribe on the Rocky Boy's Reservation in Montana. Photo from Our Saviour's Lutheran Church

Executives of a firm that once worked with the Chippewa Cree Tribe of Montana are facing a criminal probe, the Associated Press reports.

Zachary Roberts, Richard Lee Broome and Martin Mazzara of Encore Services LLC disclosed the probe by asking a federal judge to delay a civil lawsuit filed by the tribe, the AP said. The U.S. Attorney's Office in Montana, though, would not confirm or deny an investigation.

"The criminal investigation mirrors the civil action and is substantially similar if not identical to the subject matter of the civil action," attorneys for the trio wrote in a court filing, the AP reported.

Encore helped the tribe launch First American Capital Resources, an online lending business. Two former executives of that firm -- Neal Rosette and Billi Anne Morsette -- have since been indicted for allegedly stealing from the tribe.

In the civil lawsuit, the tribe alleges Encore hid a secret payment arrangement to Rosette and Morsette. An arbitrator ordered Encore to pay the tribe $1.18 but the company is disputing the award in federal court.

First American Capital Resources has since become known as Plain Green Loans. Rosette and Morsette once worked for the new entity but left. The tribe's former chairman, who is serving a 68-month sentence on other charges, has been implicated in the scheme.

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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Criminal probe into tribal lender includes Nevada partners (AP 8/28)

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