A view of the Rocky Boy's
Reservation in Montana. Photo: Chippewa Cree Tribe
The Chippewa Cree Tribe is set to recover $2.5 million from an online lending firm and its executives, the Associated Press reports.
Court documents filed on Tuesday show Encore Service, along with executives Zachary Roberts, Martin Mazzara and Richard Broome, reached plea agreements with federal prosecutors. The defendants admit they funneled money from the tribe's lending firm without the tribe's knowledge and provided kickbacks to three individuals on the reservation in Montana.
Two of those individuals -- Neal Rosette
and Billi Anne Morsette -- already pleaded guilty for their roles in the kickback scheme. Both are serving prison terms, the AP reported.
A third person allegedly received kickbacks and was identified by federal prosecutors as John "Chance" Houle, a former chairman and council member for the tribe. He was not charged in this case but is also serving prison time in connection with other crimes on the reservation.
A fourth person also was involved in the overall scheme though the AP said he was convicted on other charges.
The Encore Services defendants, meanwhile, are due to appear in court on August 24 for sentencing.
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.
Read More on the Story:
Nevada Firm, Executives Agree to Pay Montana Tribe $2.5M
lenders face pressure as new rule aims to end 'debt traps' (June 7,
firm accused of stealing $3.5M from Chippewa Cree Tribe (April 13, 2016)
Cree Tribe yet to emerge from wide-ranging scandal (March 29, 2016)
Cree Tribe received $420M in federal funds over five years (December 3,
deal entered in Chippewa Cree Tribe online lending case (November 17,
executives targeted in Chippewa Cree Tribe criminal probe (August 31,
executives charged with theft from Chippewa Cree Tribe (August 26, 2015)
Cree Tribe slams online lending lawsuit as 'baseless' (August 5, 2015)