United States Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that Donald Dunlavy, age 70, of Clark, South Dakota, appeared before United States Magistrate Judge Mark A. Moreno on November 14, 2011, and pled guilty to a Superseding Information that charged him with Theft from an Indian Tribe and Tribal Organization. The maximum penalty upon conviction is 1 year in custody, a $100,000 fine, or both.
The charge relates to Dunlavy, and others, conspiring to disguise Dunlavy’s cattle as cattle owned by a Cheyenne River Sioux tribal member by branding the cattle with a co-conspirator’s brand. This allowed Dunlavy, and others, to obtain grazing privileges from the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe to pasture non-Indian-owned cattle on tribally owned grazing range units. They did this by falsely claiming that the cattle were owned by Cheyenne River Sioux tribal members and thereby avoided paying the $6 per head, per month, Cheyenne River Sioux fee.
The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mikal Hanson.
A presentence investigation was ordered, and a sentencing date was set for February 3, 2012. The defendant was released on bond pending sentencing.