Havre Daily News - News you can use

By Tim Leeds 

Burns pleads guilty in Rocky Boy embezzlement


Business owner Hunter Burns pleaded guilty for himself and for his business to a charge of filing a false claim against a federally funded project.

Burns admitted this morning in federal court in Great Falls to filing a false claim on work on the Rocky Boy's/North Central Montana Regional Water System project, which the prosecution says was used to benefit others charged in the indictments, including Burns' former partner in his construction company, James Howard Eastlick Jr., and Chippewa Cree Construction Corp. CEO and contracting officer Tony Belcourt and his wife, Hailey Belcourt.

Tony Belcourt is scheduled to plead guilty in two cases this afternoon, and Hailey Belcourt is scheduled to plead guilty Thursday.

U.S. District Judge Brian Morris scheduled a sentencing hearing for Burns and his company, Burns Construction LLC, for July 10.

Burns was released on conditions previously set pending the sentencing hearing.


Reader Comments

DonnieSue writes:

Free money?? Like maybe we should stop sending money to other countries as well then the United States would not be in such a financial deficit, Do you feel like that to all the countries that the US helps or just the Indian tribes. This isn't free money there are Anglos who get free money in the form of food stamps and WELFARE.

Rich writes:

The money needs to be returned to the tribe?? Why so someone else can steal it. They need to quit sending money to the reservations all together no more, done. Theft will happen everytime as long as the $$$ keeps coming for free!

concerned writes:

I am not sticking up for the council, but based on what I have read in the Great Falls Tribune it's pretty clear that these transactions happened under the table, and with two greedy people. I am pretty sure that the entire Council would not subject themselves to the dealings that Belcourt and Burns did. Hopefully, there will never be a next time if they are given appropriate penalties.

frankieh writes:

We, the people of Rocky Boy, need to ensure that this criminal activity doesn't happen again. We need to elect leaders that are willing to take a firm stand against this type of criminal activities. I have witnessed too many of our council using ignorance as a defense. If our councilboys, I loathe to call them men, DON'T OR DIDN'T KNOW that these self described thieves were doing; we need a new council. Burns and Belcourt need to be banned from employment for life from the tribe.

DonnieSue writes:

Yep time to man up for your wicked ways, I truly hope the US Attorney is not a going to be lenient on this group of thieves. And I for one want to see the money return to the Chippewa Cree people, and the operative word here the people, not the council. Thank you and have a good day.


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