Eastlick Jr. enters plea in Rocky Boy fraud, embezzlement cases
May 1, 2014
A Havre psychologist who practiced at Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation pleaded guilty today in federal court in Great Falls to charges of bribery and tax fraud at the reservation.
James Howard Eastlick Jr. pleaded guilty to one charge in each of three cases filed against him, with remaining charges including all in another case to be dismissed.
U.S. District Judge Brian Morris set sentencing for Aug. 15.
Eastlick was charged last year with bribing Tony Belcourt, CEO and chief contracting officer of the Chippewa Cree Construction Corp., and his wife, Hailey Belcourt, to award contacts to the construction business of Hunter Burns, with whom Eastlick Jr. was a partner.
He also was charged last year with filing false claims through Hunter Burns Construction, which is dismissed under the plea agreement.
On April 18 was charged with failing to report income from interest on short-term loans he provided to members of the Chippewa Cree Tribe on his income tax returns for tax years 2008-2011 and in another indictment with bribing a tribal council member who arranged for the Hunter Burns Construction partnership between Eastlick and Burns.
According to a court document, the government alleged that Hunter Burns Construction made 17 payments totalling $258,487 to the unnamed councilman between July 28, 2009, and Nov. 30, 2011.
The councilman also served on the board of Chippewa Cree Construction and was a former chair of the council, the document said.
Burns, the Belcourts and Eastlick’s father, James Howard Eastlick Sr., who was charged in yet another indictment involving the Belcourts and Eastlick Jr.’s sister and brother-in-law, all have pleaded guilty in inter-related plea agreements and are awaiting sentencing.
Eastlick Jr.'s sister and brother-in-law, Tammy Kay Leischner and Mark Craig Leischner of Laurel, are scheduled to go on trial May 12.