Plea deal entered in Chippewa Cree Tribe online lending case


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

Two former executives of an online lending firm that was created by the Chippewa Cree Tribe of Montana have reached plea deals with federal prosecutors.

Neal Rosette and Billi Anne Morsette were indicted in July. They were accused of writing checks to themselves and to entities controlled by the former head of an "oversight board" for First American Capital Resources, the tribe's former lending firm.

Rosette and Morsette are now planning to plead guilty to bribery, theft and income tax charges, according to agreements filed in federal court. Both have agreed to pay back a total of $1.2 million to the tribe and to pay restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.

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

But 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.

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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Ex-tribal lending leaders make plea deal (AP 11/17)

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