Two sentenced for stealing from tribal loan program

Great Falls, Montana (AP) November 2010

Two former employees who pleaded guilty to stealing from a Fort Peck tribal loan program will spend time in federal prison.

U.S. District Judge Sam Haddon sentenced 70-year-old Evadna Running Bear of Poplar last week to three years in prison and ordered her to pay $236,170 restitution. Meanwhile, 28-year-old Angelita Headdress, also of Poplar, received 31 months in prison and was ordered to pay $83,900 restitution.

They were the last of six formal tribal or Bureau of Indian Affairs workers indicted in the scheme that ran for about 10 years until May 2009 and netted more than $1 million.

The defendants, all of whom pleaded guilty, were accused of embezzling money from the program and of trying to hide the thefts by altering computer data and replacing their names on loans with names of dead tribal members.

Running Bear and Headdress, who were accounting technicians for the loan program, pleaded guilty to theft from a tribal organization and to conspiracy to obstruct a federal audit.