Two Spirit Lake Tribe Members Plead Guilty to Embezzlement
FARGO - U.S. Attorney Timothy Q. Purdon announced that on
Jan. 11, 2012, William Kazena, 67, and Martina Kazena, 66, of Fort Totten,
N.D., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Chief Judge Ralph R. Erickson to charges
of conspiracy to embezzle from an Indian tribal organization and aiding and
abetting. Both defendants, as part of the conspiracy, pleaded guilty to willfully embezzling, stealing, and misapplying property, moneys, funds, and credits belonging to the Vocational Rehabilitation Program, a program administered by the Spirit Lake Tribe, Fort Totten, N.D.
In pleading guilty to the charge, Martina Kazena admitted that she was the
director of the Spirit Lake Vocational Rehabilitation Program and approved
program benefits to her husband, William, and others, to which they were not
otherwise entitled. The charge of conspiracy to embezzle from an Indian tribal
organization and the charge of aiding and abetting each carry a statutory maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. Five others charged in this conspiracy are scheduled for trial March 13, 2012.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Sentencing for the Kazenas has been scheduled for April 10, 2012, in U.S.
District Court in Fargo, N.D., at 10:30 a.m.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Janice M. Morley is prosecuting the cases.