By Tim Leeds 

6th person pleads in Rocky Boy scandal

Leischner pleads, charges dismissed against husband


Last updated 5/9/2014 at 11:19am

A sixth defendant accused of conspiracy to embezzle funds at Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation has pleaded guilty.

The government has dismissed charges against her husband — saying it will pursue other more serious charges against him — and the judge has denied motions to dismiss charges and documents against the last defendant, with his trial set for June 9.

Tammy Leischner of Laurel pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court in Great Falls to aiding and abetting embezzlement from an Indian tribal government receiving federal funds. Other charges against her are to be dismissed.

In a complex and interrelated plea agreement covering eight federal cases, her father, James Howard Eastlick Sr., brother, James Howard Eastlick Jr., and former state and Chippewa Cree Tribal official Tony Belcourt and his wife, Hailey Belcourt, as well as Eastlick Jr.’s business partner, Hunter Burns of Box Elder, previously pleaded guilty.

The government dismissed charges against her co-defendant and husband, Mark Leischner.

In its motion to dismiss, the government said Mark Leischner’s role in the alleged conspiracy was minor, and it would focus on his prosecution in two other federal cases against him as well as investigations into allegations of his role in other federal crimes.

Havre businessman and former Havre school board chair Shad Huston, the last defendant involved in the eight cases also involving Eastlick Jr. and Tony Belcourt, is scheduled to go on trial June 9.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Brian Morris, who is presiding over all eight cases, denied several motions made by Huston to dismiss charges or dismiss documents filed in the case against him.

The six defendants have pleaded guilty to charges stemming from accusations of conspiring to embezzle and defraud the government of money allocated to build a new regional water pipeline and to replace the flood-destroyed clinic at Rocky Boy, as well as tax and bank fraud.

Tony Belcourt was CEO and chief contracting officer of Chippewa Cree Construction Corp., the tribally owned company created to build the water system and the chief contractor in both the water project and in flood-repair projects at Rocky Boy.

Leischner’s plea agreement says the government will be asking she pay the Chippewa Cree Tribe $311,000 in restitution as part of her sentence, which includes a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

According to the offer of proof submitted to show some of what the government was prepared to prove if the case went to trial, Leischner and her father created a consulting company to which Tony Belcourt awarded a pipe shipping contract which already had been awarded to another company.

Belcourt authorized a $165,000 advance on the T. Leischner Consulting contract, the offer of proof says, then Eastlick Sr. wired $101,000 from its account to the account of a pipe company in Billings Belcourt and two partners had created a few weeks earlier, buying a controlling interest for Belcourt.

Eastlick Jr. then provided the consulting company another $45,000 so it could keep the pipe moving, the document says.

By April 26, 2010, $495,000 had been paid to T. Leischner Consulting. From that, in a series of transactions involving the Chippewa Cree Rodeo Association, Tammy Leischner purchased a $62,000 cashier’s check made out to Hill County Title Company which Hailey Belcourt then used to buy a residence in Box Elder the Belcourts used as a rental property, the offer of proof says.


Reader Comments(6)

Kyle writes:

TRIBALMAN so your saying its ok if a Native American steals from the government which we know happens frequently, but since its a non native american involved here too thats why its criminal? What gets me is native americans like Fawn Tadios who claim she is not a citizen of the united states until it comes time to collect a check from tax payers of the united states government. When will these payments from the government and fraud ever end??

Hummmm writes:

The funny thing in this case is, not about these low life thieves, that stole this money. But how much did the federal government spent or in this case wasted bring this case to light. Look at how much man power hours it took to investigate this case. How much money of the US tax payers it took to arraign this case...just to slap these people on their who is the bigger thief the people that stole the money or the government for wasting it.....

frankieH writes:

where's my post from yesterday?

frankih writes:

TRIBALMAN-Kenny Blatt, though duly elected, is NOT the answer to our problems. He was on the council and was ineffective. We are in dire need of people with no connections to past transgressions. The current council is an embarrassment to all but mostly to themselves. To allow anyone to steal not only our money but our future is beyond reprehensible; but for our council to stand idly by and let it happen is inept at best and criminal at worst.

tribalman writes:

Non Native Americans ripping off the tribe with the help of our tribal leaders just for the benefit of themselves. Reminds me of the movie Geronimo, where the Indians were helping the white soldiers against their own kind...We need change around here, the corruption is totally disgusting. I feel like we're living in a communist country, where it don't matter what the people want, we voted in Ken Blatt and those in charge are making sure that he don't take office...Little Castros & Hitlers..

DonnieSue writes:

Evidently the US government doesn't give a rats butt about what happened the Chippewa Cree people, By allowing these liars, cheaters thieves get away with all this. I am flabbergasted as to what the judge was thinking or not., Who did she turn on now to get herself off of this crime? Certainly not her brother or father. I pray the FEDS will catch up with her for tax fraud, But probably not


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