Ashleigh Marie Greybull Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Great Falls, on May 22, 2012, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Keith Strong, ASHLEIGH MARIE GREYBULL, a 30-year-old resident of Poplar, pled guilty to theft from an Indian tribal organization. Sentencing has been set for August 23, 2012. She 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:
In December 2008, administrative oversight of the Fort Peck Credit Program (FPCP) was transferred to the Fort Peck Tribes and as of that date the Credit Program became a strictly tribal function. The FPCP maintains three separate bank accounts with Independence Bank in Poplar. These bank accounts are dedicated to the Short Term Loan account, the Revolving Credit Fund account, and the Entrepreneurial Loan account.
Prior to the transition of oversight authority in December 2008, the FPCP was staffed with six employees consisting of two federal employees and four subordinate tribal employees. Loan applications were reviewed by a three member Credit Committee who had authority to approve or deny the application pursuant to the Plan of Operations.
From August 12, 1999, to May 29, 2009, hundreds of fraudulent checks exceeding $1 million were issued from the checking accounts of the Fort Peck Tribal Credit Department, an agency of the Fort Peck Tribes tasked with providing short term loans, to a maximum of $2,000, to qualifying tribal members. The checks were the consequence of a fraudulent scheme whereby all six of the Credit Program employees conspired to steal money from the Tribal Credit Department by securing unauthorized loans and direct payments for themselves. These disbursements purport to represent legitimate loans, overtime payments, and miscellaneous reimbursements to the employees, when in fact the employees had far exceeded the maximum loan amount threshold of $2,000 and their salary was paid separately through the Tribe's Payroll account. In many cases, the employees circumvented the approval authority of the oversight board; the Credit Committee, by falsely representing that approval for the disbursement had been obtained. To further solidify their conspiracy, the employees often split the proceeds of the checks with each other.
The Tribal Credit Program initially operated with $1.5 million provided to them by the Department of the Interior through the U.S. Direct Loan Fund, loan number C56-2820. The Direct Loan Fund was created to promote access to capital and increase economic opportunity of American Indians. The Direct Loan created and funded the tribal re-lending program, whereby loans repaid by tribal members would be used to repay the Direct Loan and ultimately create a reserve sufficient to make the Credit Program a viable operation. The Credit Program repaid their U.S. Direct Loan in 1996, and the funds in their account since that time are tribal monies.
Toni Greybull, a federal employee with the BIA for 34 years (January 1974 - March 2008), became an Administrative Officer for the Bureau of Indian Affairs in February of 2001, and in that position she maintained supervisory authority over Shelley Pipe, the Supervisory Credit Manager for the Credit Program. Between May 12, 2000, and January 25, 2008, Toni Greybull's daughter, Ashleigh, fraudulently received 33 disbursements from the FP short term loan program.
The parties have stipulated that for restitution and fraud loss calculations, the total loss attributable to Ashleigh Greybull is $37,713.
Pipe pled guilty to federal charges and has been sentenced. Toni Greybull is deceased.
GREYBULL faces possible penalties of 5 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and 3 years supervised release.
The investigation was conducted by the Department of Interior's Office of Inspector General.