Emery Paul Nault Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour
Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Great Falls on October 22, 2009, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Keith Strong, EMERY PAUL NAULT, a 45-year-old resident of Box Elder, pled guilty to theft from an Indian tribal organization receiving federal funding. Sentencing is set for January 14, 2010. He is currently released on special conditions.
In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Carl E. Rostad, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
Nault had been employed by the Chippewa Cree Tribe Natural Resources Department Fire Suppression Program since November 1999. In April 2001 he became the Fire Management Officer. As the Fire Management Officer, NAULT was provided a series of three credit cards from 2002 through 2006 with which to conduct official business on behalf of the Natural Resources Department. The government credit cards are for official use only; tribal policies prohibit the use of tribal government credit cards for personal use and at no time are tribal employees allowed to obtain cash advances on these credit cards.
An investigation determined, and NAULT admitted, that he systematically misused the three credit cards on 174 occasions between January 2003 and June 2006, incurring $10,849.84 in personal transactions that were paid by the Chippewa Cree Tribe.
The personal charges were for charges made at restaurants and hotels in Havre, as well as charges at bars and casinos in Havre and Great Falls.
NAULT made partial repayment via payroll deduction to the Chippewa Cree Tribe which totaled $6,078.95. The investigation also confirmed NAULT'S claim that he had remitted personal cash payments in the amount $900. The total of repayments made to the Chippewa Cree Tribe by NAULT for his tribal credit card misuse equaled $6,978.95.
The outstanding amount due the Chippewa Cree Tribe for the unauthorized and personal transactions conducted by NAULT for his personal benefit is $3,870.89. That dollar loss, when coupled with the assessed bank fees, equals $6,357.80 in total losses to the Chippewa Cree Tribe.
NAULT faces possible penalties of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and 3 years supervised release.
The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Department of the Interior - Inspector General's Office.
A copy of the Offer of Proof can be obtained by contacting Sally Frank at (406) 247-4638.