Havre Daily News - News you can use

By Tim Leeds 

Leischners face new Rocky Boy charges

Laurel couple charged with failing to report income in bankruptcy filings


December 23, 2013

A Laurel couple facing charges that they embezzled federal money allocated to a water project at Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation now face charges they failed to report that income when they filed for bankruptcy in 2012.

Mark and Tammy Leischner pleaded not guilty in federal District Court in Billings last week to charges of bankruptcy fraud and false bankruptcy declaration. The case was assigned to newly appointed federal Judge Susan Watters. No hearings in the case had been scheduled as of this morning.

According to the indictment, when the Leischners filed for bankruptcy in 2012, they concealed receiving nearly $800,000 the federal government had allocated to the Rocky Boy’s/North Central Montana regional water project.

The Laurel couple; Tammy Leischner’s father, James Howard Eastlick; former Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation tribal council member and former state Rep. Tony Belcourt, D-Box Elder, the CEO of the tribal Chippewa Cree Construction Corp .; and his wife, Hailey Belcourt, are facing fraud and embezzlement charges in federal District Court in Great Falls related to the case in Billings.

In the embezzlement case, the government charges that the defendants used a series of companies, including Tammy Leischner’s consulting business and a Billings pipe company of which Tony Belcourt had a controlling interest, to shuffle and embezzle money intended to create a water system that would supply nearly 30,000 people in north-central Montana.

Chippewa Cree Construction is the prime contractor for the water system.

John “Chance” Houle, a member and former chair of the Chippewa Cree tribal council, was originally charged in that case. The federal government later dropped the charges against Houle.

Other charges related to embezzling federal funds have been filed against the Belcourts and some other local residents.

A case alleges that former Havre School Board Chair Shad Huston and the Belcourts conspired to embezzle money allocated to replace the tribal clinic damaged in flooding in 2010.

Another two cases allege that James Howard Eastlick Jr. of Havre — son of James Eastlick of Laurel and brother of Tammy Leischner — and Hunter Burns used Hunter Burns Construction of Box Elder, in which the two were partners, to defraud the federal government and embezzle funds. Tony Belcourt is a defendant in both cases and Hailey Belcourt is a defendant in one.

In a separate case, Fawn Tadios, CEO of the Chippewa Cree Health Board, was charged with embezzling funds from the board and the tribal clinic, while, in another separate case, embezzlement charges were filed against Health Board employee Garcia Duran.


Reader Comments

dixie writes:

These so called council men need to reinstate Kenny or this corruption will never stop, they laid everyone off saying they were broke but the corruption never stopped. the tribe never was broke just ask me I know it all and I love the drama that I create

Silverknife writes:

You can guarantee that all of the programs that were affected will be taken from tribal hands and will be placed out of their control. If those programs are even continued they won't be run by tribal members. Maybe it will make things better for those that have been denied services because the money went to the selfish few rather than to benefit the tribe like it should have...

fedup writes:

there seems to be others that are out of the picture here, for example a construction company board of directors who must have known what was going on, while they signed big checks??? how did the pawn shop guy come about??? how did chance walk away clean after putting $70,000.00 into his personal rodeo account???

bill writes:

Stealers Wheel. Tribal Council Clowns to the left of me, Embezzlers to the right, here I am, Stuck in the middle with you. Happy Holidays Ricky Mouse Club.


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