Havre Daily News - News you can use

By Tim Leeds 

Eastlick Jr. enters plea in Rocky Boy fraud, embezzlement cases


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.


Reader Comments

fedup writes:

Eastlick seemed to be a nice person who just got stuck with the Greedy Reservation crooks who have been stealing from the Tribe for years. Who is the Councilman?? There are at least 4 suspects, please hurry and take them to prison. We need new leaders who are not afraid to try and clean up the sorry situation Rocky Boy is in, including the drug problem. These crooks also enjoy the use of several thousand acres of land while other have to live in crowded housing sites.

apageturner writes:

'an unnamed councilman'. It's a 1001 nights on this here reservation as all these little Scheherazades hold the Feds in suspense eagerly awaiting the next night of revelations. It seems that by the time it comes to sentencing the feds fall in love with their latest princesses and go ever so lightly on them while the rez is stuck with the bill. maybe the blattman wont look so bad after the next round of layoffs, coming soon to a dept near you.


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