Former Chippewa Cree Tribe chair sentenced in corruption case

John "Chance" Houle

John “Chance” Houle, a former chairman of the Chippewa Cree Tribe of Montana, was sentenced to 68 months in federal prison for his role in a wide-ranging corruption scandal on the Rocky Boy's Reservation.

Houle pleaded guilty last December to bribery, embezzlement, obstruction of justice, and tax evasion charges. He admitted that he accepted bribes and kickbacks from companies and vendors that did business with the tribe.

According to the Associated Press, Houle accepted $306,987 in kickbacks. He must pay restitution of $121,219 plus a share of $525,237 between him and three co-defendants, the AP said.

A second person, Timothy Rosette, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to two counts of bribery and one of theft from tribal lands. He admitted that he accepted bribes when he worked for the tribe's health clinic and for the roads department.

As part of the Guardians Project, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Montana has indicted more than a dozen Chippewa Cree leaders, employees and associates on the Rocky Boy's Reservation. The effort has put Montana on top of a nationwide list of judicial districts with the most government corruption prosecutions.

Get the Story:
Former Chippewa Cree leader sentenced to 5½ years in prison (AP 7/29)
Former Chippewa Cree official admits to corruption charges (MTN News 7/29)
Rocky Boy official pleads guilty (The Havre Daily News 7/29)

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