Home Salt Lake City Press Releases 2013 Informational: Federal Court Arraignments

Informational: Federal Court Arraignments

U.S. Attorney’s Office May 07, 2013
  • District of Montana (406) 657-6101

The United States Attorney’s Office announced that during a federal court session in Great Falls, on May 7, 2013, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Keith Strong, the following individuals were arraigned:

Tony James Belcourt, age 41; Hailey Lee Belcourt, age 35; John Chance Houle, age 47, residents of Box Elder; and Mark T. Leischner, age 46, and Tammy Kay Leischner, age 42, residents of Laurel, each appeared on charges of:

Count one: conspiracy to defraud the United States
Penalty: Five years’ imprisonment, $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release

Counts two through six: scheme to defraud the United States and the Chippewa Cree Tribe/wire fraud
Penalty: 20 years’ imprisonment, $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release

Count seven: theft of federal monies
Penalty: 10 years’ imprisonment, $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release

Count eight: theft from an Indian Tribal Government receiving federal funding
Penalty: 10 years’ imprisonment, $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release

Count nine: receipt of stolen money in interstate commerce Penalty: Ten years’ imprisonment, $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release

Counts X-XVII: money laundering
Penalty: 10 years’ imprisonment, $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release

The defendants pled not guilty to the charges and are currently released on special conditions.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Carl E. Rostad is the prosecutor for the United States.

The investigation was a cooperative effort between the U.S. Department of Interior-Office of Inspector General, the Criminal Investigation Division of the Internal Revenue Service, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“It would be inappropriate to comment on the facts of this case at this stage of the proceedings. The judicial system will sort out the truth of the allegations, and all defendants enjoy a presumption of innocence. However, today’s indictment is the product of diligent work by the very dedicated agents of the Guardians Project. As the work of this team of skilled and highly trained professionals from the Offices of Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation goes forward, the people of Montana can expect more cases—from every part of the state—outlined in lengthy, multi-defendant indictments alleging public corruption and embezzlement of federal funds. Their investigations address chronic and systemic financial assaults on federal grants and contracts. This office is committed to their mission,” United States Attorney for the District of Montana Michael W. Cotter stated.

The charge, an indictment, information, or complaint, is merely an accusation, and all persons named as defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. A pre-trial conference and a trial date will be set, and the United States will be required to prove the allegations set forth in the indictment beyond a reasonable doubt.

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