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Former Stone Child president begins trial

The embezzlement trial of former Stone Child College President Melody Billy Henry and her husband Frank Henry began Tuesday morning. and it is continuing today.

The pretrial conference at the Missouri River Federal Courthouse in Great Falls was held Tuesday morning and 13 trial jurors were chosen before the lunch break. After the break, the opening statements began.

The first day of the hearing commenced at 8:45 a.m. and ended just before 5 p.m. Tuesday. Proceedings began at 8:30 this morning.

Government witnesses sworn in Tuesday and examined were Gerry Veis of Bear Paw Credit Union, Havre accountant James Kato and James Eastlick Jr., who has pleaded guilty to other charges in the scandals at Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation.

Melody Henry is charged with committing the thefts while she was the president of Stone Child College. She pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to embezzle federal grant and contract funds, theft from an Indian tribal government receiving federal funding, accepting bribes and theft from an Indian tribal organization.

Her husband pleaded not guilty to the same charges. He was Stone Child’s facilities department manager when she was president.

They allegedly embezzled funds directly awarded to the college and the tribe in 2010 and 2012 by making payments of federal funding to Hunter Burns Construction, which would then make payments back to them for their personal use.

The Henrys are said to have received around $242,273 in payments from the company.

Eastlick, a witness in Henry’s trial and a co-owner of Hunter Burns Construction, has also been indicted and pleaded guilty to embezzlement charges.

Their maximum penalties are five years in prison with three years supervised release and a $250,000 fine for each count of conspiracy to embezzle and theft from a tribal organization. They could also get 10 years in prison with three of supervised release with a $250,000 fine for both the bribery and theft from the government.


Reader Comments(1)

rbcitizen writes:

Wow, calling everyone into court, going on the third day. They need some jail time Mr. Morris. Must have been nice to have all that money including their kids.

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