Lending firm accused of stealing $3.5M from Chippewa Cree Tribe

A screenshot of the Plain Green Loans website.

An online lending firm is accused of cheating the Chippewa Cree Tribe of Montana out of $3.5 million.

Encore Services and its president, Zachary Roberts, were indicted in federal court last month. They are charged with conspiracy to defraud the tribe, a scheme to defraud the tribe and bribery.

According to prosecutors, the company and Roberts stole $3.5 million from the tribe through a fraudulent contract and used $1.2 million of those funds to make kickbacks to two former executives who already pleaded guilty for their roles in the scheme.

Neal Rosette and Billi Anne Morsette worked for First American Capital Resources and, later, Plain Green Loans, the companies that Encore Services and Roberts started with the tribe.

The case stems from a long-running investigation into corruption within the tribe and on the Rocky Boy's Reservation. More than two dozen Chippewa Cree leaders, employees and associates have been ensnared by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Montana and its Guardians Project.

Since the project began, more than 80 people have been indicted on theft, bribery, conspiracy and other charges for crimes in Indian Country.

Get the Story:
Ex-tribal partner charged in online lending kickback scheme (AP 4/13)
Billings contractor, 2 companies indicted in Chippewa Cree corruption case (The Billings Gazette 4/30)

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