Two more sets of charges alleging fraud and embezzlement of federal funds allocated to Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation were unsealed in federal court in Great Falls this morning.
One set charges former Havre school board president Shad Huston and two of his consulting companies with embezzlement and conspiracy. He was charged for activities in his private business, unrelated to his public office. He left office in 2009.
Chippewa Cree Construction Corp. CEO Tony Belcourt, a former state representative and former elected member of the Chippewa Cree Tribe’s Business Committee, was charged in both cases this morning, the third and fourth set of charges filed against him this year.
His wife, Hailey Belcourt, was charged in one case — the third time she has been indicted.
James Howard Eastlick Jr. and Hunter Burns, owner of Hunter Burns Construction, also were charged in one case, the second indictment against them.
All defendants pleaded not guilty to all charges, with Judge Keith string entering a not guilty plea for Burns, who is in the hospital and not able to attend, along with Burns’ construction company, also named in the indictment
In the first indictment unsealed today, Tony and Hailey Belcourt and Huston and his two companies, K and N Consulting and TMP Services were charged with counts including conspiracy to embezzle, theft from an Indian tribal government receiving federal funds and offering or accepting bribes.
The government served notice that if the defendants are proven guilty, it will seek fines against Huston’s businesses.
In the second set of indictments, Tony Belcourt and Eastlick and Burns were charged including with filing false claims against a federally funded project and theft from an Indian tribal government. Again, the charges include seeking fines against Hunter Burns Construction if he is found guilty.
Strong said Chief District Judge Dana Christensen had set a pretrial conference for each case on Nov. 13.
The indictments are the latest in a string of charges filed alleging embezzlement of federal funds on Indian reservations, both on Rocky Boy and on other reservations in Montana.