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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of South Dakota

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Four Individuals Indicted For Theft Of Tribal Funds

United States Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that four individuals were indicted by a federal grand jury on October 11, 2013, for stealing funds from the Oglala Sioux Tribe.

Samone Darla Milk, a/k/a Samone Darla Long Pumpkin, age 32, of Martin, South Dakota, was indicted for Conspiracy to Commit Theft Concerning Programs Receiving Federal Funds and two counts of Theft Concerning Programs Receiving Federal Funds.

Heather Marie Garcia, a/k/a Heather Marie Brings Plenty, age 30, Joe Marquios Garcia, age 34, and Wayne Wilson Cortier, age 45, all of Pine Ridge, South Dakota, were indicted for Conspiracy to Commit Theft Concerning Programs Receiving Federal Funds and one count of Theft Concerning Programs Receiving Federal Funds.

All four defendants appeared before U.S. Magistrate Veronica L. Duffy on October 16, 2013, and pled not guilty to the Indictments.

The conspiracy count carries a maximum penalty upon conviction of up to 5 years in custody and/or a $250,000 fine, 3 years of supervised release, and $100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.  Restitution may also be ordered.   The theft counts carry a maximum penalty upon conviction of up to 10 years in custody and/or a $250,000 fine, 3 years of supervised release, and $100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.  Restitution may also be ordered.  

The Indictment alleges that the defendants made fraudulent claims on the Oglala Sioux Tribe’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.  Milk and Heather Garcia were employed by the Tribe at the time of the offenses, and Joe Garcia and Cortier were contractors for the Tribe. 

The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. 

The investigation is being conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Ann M. Hendrickson is prosecuting the case.   

All four defendants were released pending trial.  A trial has been set for December 17, 2013.

Updated June 22, 2015