Chippewa Cree Tribe set to recover $2.5M from online lending firm

A view of the Rocky Boy's Reservation in Montana. Photo: Chippewa Cree Tribe

The Chippewa Cree Tribe is set to recover $2.5 million from an online lending firm and its executives, the Associated Press reports.

Court documents filed on Tuesday show Encore Service, along with executives Zachary Roberts, Martin Mazzara and Richard Broome, reached plea agreements with federal prosecutors. The defendants admit they funneled money from the tribe's lending firm without the tribe's knowledge and provided kickbacks to three individuals on the reservation in Montana.

Two of those individuals -- Neal Rosette and Billi Anne Morsette -- already pleaded guilty for their roles in the kickback scheme. Both are serving prison terms, the AP reported.

A third person allegedly received kickbacks and was identified by federal prosecutors as John "Chance" Houle, a former chairman and council member for the tribe. He was not charged in this case but is also serving prison time in connection with other crimes on the reservation.

A fourth person also was involved in the overall scheme though the AP said he was convicted on other charges.

The Encore Services defendants, meanwhile, are due to appear in court on August 24 for sentencing.

The case stems from a long-running investigation into corruption within the tribe and on the Rocky Boy's Reservation. More than two dozen Chippewa Cree leaders, employees and associates have been ensnared by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Montana and its Guardians Project.

Read More on the Story:
Nevada Firm, Executives Agree to Pay Montana Tribe $2.5M (AP 5/4)

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