Havre Daily News - News you can use

By Tim Leeds 

Huston to plead guilty in Rocky Boy scam


The last of eight defendants facing trial in inter-related charges of fraud and embezzlement tied to Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation is scheduled to change his plea.

Havre businessman and former school board chair Shad James Huston requested Friday the judge set a hearing to change his plea.

U.S. District Judge Brian Morris set a change of plea hearing for Huston on Aug. 14, the same day his co-defendant Tony Belcourt is scheduled for sentencing in that and other cases.

In the motion to change his plea to a count of theft from an Indian tribal organization, Huston’s attorney writes that the government is filing additional indictments which will include two other charges to which he will plead guilty.

Huston was charged with offering bribes and embezzling federal and insurance funds the Chippewa Cree Tribe received to built a clinic to replace the multi-million dollar facility destroyed in the 2010 flood.

The motion was the latest in a series of inter-related plea agreements dealing with charges alleging fraud and embezzlement related to federal funding at Rocky Boy.

The charges stem from allegations of fraud or embezzlement, including tax and bank fraud, in the misuse of funds intended for the construction of a regional water system or repair of flood damage. The tribally owned Chippewa Cree Construction Corp. was the lead contractor in all of those projects.

Belcourt, who was a former Chippewa Cree Business Committee member and was a state representative and CEO and chief contracting officer of Chippewa Cree Construction, was charged or connected to the series of indictments in 2013 and this year. His wife, Hailey Belcourt, also pleaded guilty to charges filed against her.

Havre psychologist James Howard Eastlick Jr., a business partner of Tony Belcourt, Huston and Hunter Burns, also pleaded guilty to charges in the indictments, as did Burns.

Eastlick's father, sister and brother-in-law, James Howard Eastlick Sr., Tammy Leischner and Mark Leischner, also were indicted.

Eastlick Sr. and Tammy Leischner also have pleaded guilty to charges, while charges against Mark Leischner were dropped, as were charges against Business Committee member John “Chance” Houle.

Mark and Tammy Leischner and their son, Brenden James Leischner, have since pleaded not guilty to charges they failed to report income, including money embezzled from Rock Boy, while collecting nearly $100,000 to help pay for Brenden Leischner’s expenses at the University of Great Falls while he studied criminal justice.


Reader Comments

Disgraced writes:

Everyone in the area suffers while these people are buying their undeserving children BRAND NEW loaded vehicles, taking expensive vacations, and living in a life of luxury. It's all paid for with dirty money so they should have it all taken away from them!

Stuart Smith writes:

Wow you steal to learn criminal justice so you can be a better thief??? Someting is wrong wrong here!!

rblove writes:

I just don't understand how these people can live with themselves everyday knowing that they put our Tribes livelihood and future on the line for GREED! You all made and continue to live off the money you stole! Why is Chance still in office? That is such a conflict of interest and a shame he should be impeached for all of his involvement in this corruption! WHY DO THEIVES CONTINUE TO PROSPER HERE? I am dumbfounded and angry that we as a Tribe continue to allow this. Put em in Tribal Jail now!


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