Joyce Tatsey Spoonhunter Found Guilty in U.S. Federal Court
The United States Attorney's Office announced that on May 22, 2013, in Great Falls, after a federal district court trial before Chief U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen, JOYCE TATSEY SPOONHUNTER, a 56-year-old resident of Browning, was found guilty of three counts of wire fraud. Sentencing is set for August 28, 2013. She is currently released on special conditions.
At trial, the following evidence and testimony was presented to the jury.
The North American Indian Days is a time for celebration on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. Friends gather, eat, enjoy the warm summer days, and vendors attend to display their skills and products in order to generate income off the attendees. A tremendous amount of money is generated during the celebration.
SPOONHUNTER used her position in the Blackfeet Tribe to steal money from individuals who tried to reserve spots for vendor sites at the North American Indian Days. When the vendors arrived, their spots had not been reserved, and their payments to SPOONHUNTER had not been turned over to the Tribe. As a result, vendors were required to double-pay or move their reserved spots to an undesirable location at the North American Indian Days. Payments made to individuals other than SPOONHUNTER had no problem.
The amount SPOONHUNTER is accountable for was approximately $8,000.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan G. Weldon prosecuted the case for the United States.
SPOONHUNTER faces, for each count, possible penalties of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and 3 years supervised release.
The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Blackfeet Internal Affairs.