More not guilty pleas entered in Rocky Boy scandal
July 25, 2014
The name of another Rocky Boy resident — and some returning names — are in a series of federal embezzlement indictments unsealed Thursday in federal court in Great Falls.
• Wade Colliflower pleaded not guilty to three counts in each of two indictments unsealed Thursday. Tribal council member John “Chance” Houle pleaded not guilty June 24 to nine charges he faces in the two cases.
• Mark Leischner of Laurel, also appeared in court to face five charges in one of the cases.
Leischner’s attorney was not present, and U.S. Magistrate Judge Keith Strong entered not guilty pleas pending counsel appearing for Leischner.
Leischner faces other charges and had charges in another case previously dismissed by the government.
• Havre businessman Shad Huston, a former chair of the Havre Public Schools board who is scheduled to change his plea Aug. 14 in a 2013 Rocky Boy embezzlement indictment, pleaded not guilty Thursday in Great Falls to charges in two new indictments.
Huston is charged in one indictment with failing to file required financial reports for some of his businesses when he made transactions involving Rocky Boy agencies and tribal members. In the other, he is charged, along with former council Chair Bruce Sunchild, of conspiracy to embezzle, bribery and theft. Huston pleaded not guilty to four counts in that indictment.
Sunchild — who was arrested and taken to court after he failed to appear at an arraignment that morning — pleaded not guilty June 24 to five counts in that indictment.
In that indictment, Sunchild, Huston and former state Rep. Tony Belcourt are accused of making a $300,000 payment to one of Huston’s businesses, then Huston paying $24,977 to Sunchild to use to buy a Chevrolet Suburban for Tony Belcourt which then was transferred to Sunchild in exchange for his signing off on the $300,000 payment.
Belcourt pleaded guilty to some charges in a series of 2013 indictments and is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 14 and is not charged in the new indictment.
In the indictment charging Houle, Colliflower and Leischner — at the time the brother-in-law of former Rocky Boy clinical psychologist James Eastlick Jr., who also has pleaded guilty in other embezzlement cases and is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 25 — are accused of paying Leischner and his wife $268,000 from the account of the Chippewa Cree Rodeo Association. In return, Leischners paid kickbacks to Eastlick Jr. and the Belcourts, the indictment alleges.
More than $2 million from sources on and off the reservation was deposited in the rodeo account from June 2009 to July 2012.
Houle was the president and Colliflower the vice president of the rodeo association.
Eastlick Jr.’s father and sister, James Eastlick Sr. and Tammy Leischner, and Belcourt’s wife, Hailey Belcourt, have pleaded guilty to embezzlement charges in other cases, in some cases intertwined with some allegations in the new indictments.
Leischner is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 14, as is Hailey Belcourt. Eastlick Sr. is scheduled for sentencing Aug. 15.