Law
Chippewa Cree man sentenced to 7 1/2 years in corruption case

Tony Belcourt. Photo from Project Vote Smart

A federal judge sentenced a member of the Chippewa Cree Tribe of Montana to 7 1/2 years in prison as part of a major corruption case on the reservation.

Tony Belcourt pleaded guilty to theft from an Indian tribal organization, two counts of accepting bribes or personal payment for public acts and one count of income tax fraud. He admitted he took bribes and accepted kickbacks when he served as CEO of the Chippewa Cree Construction Corporation,a tribal-owned business.

"Everyone in our country deserves to be governed by people of integrity," Judge Brian Morris said at the sentencing hearing on Thursday, The Great Falls Tribune reported. "Mr. Belcourt occupied a position of trust within his community."

Belcourt was ordered to serve three years of probation and was ordered to pay $667,000 in restitution to the tribe. His wife, Hailey Belcourt, was sentenced to 10 months for her role in the crime.

At least 10 people have been indicted in connection with corruption cases on the reservation. The cases put Montana on top a nationwide list of judicial districts with the most government corruption prosecutions.

Get the Story:
Belcourt gets 7 1/2 years in corruption case (The Great Falls Tribune 8/15)
Ex-legislator sentenced in tribal corruption case (AP 8/15)
Join the Conversation

Related Stories:
Chippewa Cree Tribe takes Original Americans Foundation money (08/01)
Former employee sentenced for theft from Chippewa Cree Tribe (7/29)
Tribal corruption cases put Montana on top of prosecution list (7/14)
Ex-employee found guilty of stealing from Chippewa Cree Tribe (06/27)
Another person pleads guilty for Chippewa Cree Tribe scandal (5/13)
Former lawmaker pleads guilty in Chippewa Cree corruption case (04/03)
More criminal cases filed in thefts from Chippewa Cree Tribe (10/30)
Chairman of Chippewa Cree Tribe blocked from taking office (10/08)
Group forms to battle corruption on reservations in Montana (10/4)
New indictment in theft case involving Chippewa Cree Tribe (10/2)
Chippewa Cree Tribe delays swearing-in of chair amid challenge (08/08)