Susan Lynn Meineke Sentenced in U.S. District Cour
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Great Falls, on February 28, 2011, before U.S. District Magistrate Judge Keith Strong, SUSAN LYNN MEINEKE, a 56-year-old resident of Browning, appeared for sentencing. MEINEKE was sentenced to a term of:
Probation: 2 years
Special Assessment: $25
Community Service: 100 Hours
MEINEKE was sentenced in connection with her guilty plea to 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:
MEINEKE, then Susan Carlson, was the Director of the Blackfeet Head Start Program which receives annual grant funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council, the governing body of the Blackfeet Tribe.
Between January and July of 2008, MEINEKE attended several work-related conferences - in Helena, Washington, D.C., Denver, and Missoula - which were sponsored by state or federal governmental departments or through non-governmental organizations. For each trip, prior to departure, MEINEKE applied for and received a travel advance from the Blackfeet Tribe. The conference organizers for each of these trips also reimbursed MEINEKE for the same travel expense, and, in some cases, also provided an honorarium or stipend for her participation, even though she was also receiving her salary for the same work performed. According to the financial affairs officer of the Tribe, the travel advances for which she was reimbursed by third party payees were never repaid to the Head Start program or the Blackfeet Tribe.
MEINEKE was interviewed and claimed that she had made at least some reimbursement for the travel during the period. She claimed the payments had been in cash, but she provided no receipts or other records documenting any such payments. The United States will claim, on behalf of the Blackfeet Tribe, $3,072.06 in restitution at the time of sentencing.
Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that MEINEKE will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, MEINEKE does 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 conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - Office of Inspector General.