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Donna Mae Little Dog and Cletus Running Wolf Sentenced in U.S. District Cour

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 08, 2010

The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Great Falls, on July 7, 2010, before U.S. District Judge Sam E. Haddon, DONNA MAE LITTLE DOG, age 49, and CLETUS RUNNING WOLF, age 52, residents of Browning, appeared for sentencing.

LITTLE DOG was sentenced to a term of:

  • Prison: 14 months
  • Special Assessment: $100
  • Restitution: $75,442.79
  • Supervised Release: 3 years

RUNNING WOLF was sentenced to a term of:

  • Prison: 12 months
  • Special Assessment: $100
  • Restitution: $56,120
  • Supervised Release: 3 years

LITTLE DOG was sentenced in connection with her guilty plea to theft from an Indian tribal organization and RUNNING WOLF was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to aiding and abetting in a theft from an Indian tribal organization.

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:

On October 16, 2008, LITTLE DOG, who had been the payroll clerk for the Blackfeet Housing Authority (BHA) for approximately fifteen years, was confronted by her supervisor about payroll checks she issued to RUNNING WOLF. According to the Executive Director of the BHA, RUNNING WOLF had been employed by the BHA for approximately six weeks in 2007 and not at all in 2008, despite a payroll summary that indicated a gross amount of $37,640 was paid to RUNNING WOLF in 2008.

Subsequent investigation determined that RUNNING WOLF was issued payroll checks whose gross amounts totaled $23,094.44 in 2005; $29,489.86 in 2006; $34,558.72 in 2007, and $36,858.09 in 2008. The difference between OIG and BHA figures for 2008 was the result of Blackfeet Housing stopping payment on the last check after discovering the scheme. LITTLE DOG denied, however, that any monies were fraudulently abstracted by her from the accounts of the BHA in 2005 and 2006.

In May of 2009, LITTLE DOG was interviewed by law enforcement and admitted that she issued fraudulent payroll checks to RUNNING WOLF throughout 2007 and 2008. According to LITTLE DOG, RUNNING WOLF worked for Blackfeet Housing only for about a week in 2007 and not at all in 2008. LITTLE DOG admitted that she shared the proceeds of each of these fraudulent checks with RUNNING WOLF. LITTLE DOG also admitted that she claimed fraudulent overtime hours on her time cards, after they had been signed by her supervisor, which resulted in fraudulent payroll payments totaling $5,541.22 in 2008 and $107.84 in 2007, that she was not entitled to receive. LITTLE DOG admitted that she forged the signatures of Blackfeet Housing supervisors on time sheets to justify the paychecks to RUNNING WOLF in addition to forging the signatures of the executive director and general manager on the resulting paychecks.

RUNNING WOLF was also interviewed and denied categorically that he had knowledge that LITTLE DOG was issuing payroll checks in his name. RUNNING WOLF confirmed that he only worked half a day in 2007 and not at all in 2008. He denied that he ever let Donna cash his checks.

During the investigation, however, bar owners, store owners and bankers confirmed that RUNNING WOLF negotiated many of the checks himself or called ahead to authorize the transaction of the checks by LITTLE DOG.

Based upon the reviews by tribal and federal authorities, LITTLE DOG embezzled $112,091, primarily through the use of fraudulent checks made payable to RUNNING WOLF.

LITTLE DOG admits to embezzling at least $71,416.80.

Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that they will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, they do have the opportunity to earn a sentence reduction for "good behavior." However, this reduction will not exceed 15% of the overall sentence.

The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Blackfeet Tribe's Internal Affairs and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development - Office of Inspector General.

 

 

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