E-mail Story   Print Story
  Comments (1) Total Thursday Apr. 24, 2014
 
Blackfeet Woman Gets Probation in Fraud Scheme
Blackfeet woman sentenced to three years' probation and ordered her to pay $50,000 in restitution
HELENA — A federal judge has sentenced a Blackfeet woman to three years' probation and ordered her to pay $50,000 in restitution for her role in a scheme to embezzle from a federally funded program for troubled youth on the reservation.

But U.S. District Judge Brian Morris did not follow prosecutors' recommendation that Charlotte New Breast, 53, be placed under house arrest for six months when he sentenced her Thursday in Great Falls.

Morris placed no such restriction on New Breast, who previously pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting theft from an organization receiving federal grant funds.

New Breast was the administrative assistant for the now-defunct Po'Ka Project, which received $9.3 million in federal aid from 2005 to 2011 to help Blackfeet children with severe emotional disorders. The Blackfeet Indian tribe was supposed to provide $7 million in in-kind contributions over the last two years with the aim of it becoming a self-sufficient program run by the tribe.

But program leaders couldn't meet with the requirements, so they began inflating some contributions and making up others, including $92,000 worth of planning services provided by the chief of staff of one of Montana's two U.S. senators, according to prosecutors.

Nobody at the senator's offices in Washington or Montana had even heard of the project, Assistant U.S. Attorney Carl Rostad said. Prosecutors did not say whether it involved Sen. Jon Tester's or Sen. Max Baucus' office.

The program's leaders, including Francis Onstad and Delyle "Shanny" Augare, also stole an estimated $195,000 from the program through payments to and kickbacks from consultants and by falsifying travel and expense invoices, prosecutors have said.

Onstad, Augare and three other defendants are scheduled for a March 10 trial. They have pleaded not guilty to a total of 37 criminal counts.

Prosecutors had recommended no prison time for New Breast because she was a small player in the program and she provided "substantial assistance" to prosecutors.

New Breast's attorney, Jeffry Foster, had agreed with the sentencing recommendation.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that the defendants pleaded guilty to a total of 37 criminal counts.
 
On 01-17-14, true commented....
DIDN’T KNOW OR NEVER HEARD OF IT,C’MON NOW PLASTIC MAXI AND OBESE JON YOU KNEW WE BLACKFEET GOT IT ALL TO YOU!! BUT SHANNON AUGARE YOU KNOW YOUR BOY WHO WAS THE CHAIRMAN OF THE POKA BOARD AND WHO PROMISED YOU OUR WATER FOR…
 
Kellyn Brown
Kellyn Brown3h
@kellynbrown
Former pro skier has plans for an academy for young adults looking to train in the outdoors http://t.co/YFOI9pdVVf http://t.co/R8NCamjqUD
Dillon Tabish
Dillon Tabish3h
@djtabish
Former pro skier has plans for an academy for young adults looking to train in the outdoors http://t.co/YFOI9pdVVf http://t.co/R8NCamjqUD
Molly Priddy
Molly Priddy36m
@mollypriddy
@FABarnhill @EmilieRSaunders Call me when you've started organizing your own hands. "Left pinkie." "Left ring finger" etc.
Tristan Scott
Tristan Scott23 Apr
@tristanscott
Meet the law firm behind W.R. Grace and scores of other notable Montana cases. http://t.co/PXTGJGoYdH
Flathead Beacon
FB Headlines2h
@flatheadbeacon