Former Crow tribal official sentenced to probation for theft

Billings, Montana (AP) 9-07

The former director of the Crow Tribe’s abandoned mines program has been sentenced to three years of probation for trading in a tribal vehicle for credit toward the purchase of a personal vehicle.

Neta Old Elk of Garryowen was also ordered to pay $5,000 in restitution to the tribe. U.S. Magistrate Carolyn Ostby also fined her $1,500 during the September 17th sentencing.

Old Elk pleaded guilty in July to theft from a tribal organization. Investigators said she received a $5,000 credit from a Billings dealership in May 2003 in exchange for a 1997 GMC Yukon that was purchased with a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, according to court documents.

Old Elk had been using the vehicle for government business and had convinced tribal Chairman Carl Venne to transfer title of the vehicle to her, court documents show. Venne believed he was transferring the vehicle to another tribal agency. Old Elk later told investigators she had bought the vehicle at a tribal auction, court records said.

Information from: Billings Gazette,