Former Chippewa Cree Official Pleads Guilty To Bribery, Theft
GREAT FALLS – Former Chippewa Cree Tribal official Timothy Warren Rosette, 52, of Box Elder, pleaded guilty today to two counts of bribery and one count of theft of tribal funds, according to the United States Attorney’s Office. Rosette had been charged in three indictments handed down by a federal Grand Jury investigating corruption in Indian Country. Rosette appeared before U.S. District Judge Brian Morris in Great Falls to enter the guilty pleas.
Rosette’s sentencing is set for October 29, 2015, at the Missouri River Courthouse in Great Falls.
The maximum sentence on the two counts of bribery is 10 years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release. On the charge of theft from an Indian tribal organization, Rosette faces a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and three years supervised release. All sentences could be imposed consecutively. Rosette will also be responsible for restitution to repay the tribe for losses associated with his crimes.
Rosette has occupied positions of tribal authority at Rocky Boy’s for several years. During the period of the indictments—April 2009 to December 2012—Rosette served as the Director of the Rocky Boy Health Clinic’s Environmental Health Unit, with authority to select contractors, award contracts and approve contract payments relating to the tribe’s community water supply (lagoons, pipes, sewers, storm drains, etc.). During the same period, Rosette was also the Director of the tribe’s Roads Division with authority to select contractors, award contracts, and approve contract payments relating to the roads, highways, easements, and bridges on the reservation.
The Grand Jury had charged Rosette with accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes and gifts from Hunter Burns Construction and Dr. James Eastlick, Jr, who held a 49% ownership interest in Hunter Burns Construction. Rosette was also alleged to have received cash kick-backs from Havre businessman Shad Huston, who was acting on behalf of a local trucking company—K Bar K Trucking—and that Rosette facilitated fraudulent claims on behalf of other Huston companies such as TMP Services and K & N Consulting. In Tuesday’s hearing, Rosette admitted taking bribes or gratuities from Eastlick and Huston and accepting and submitting a fraudulent claim from TMP Services in 2012 resulting in a $30,000 loss to the tribe.
Dr. Eastlick previously pleaded guilty to several felonies related to bribery, embezzlement, and tax evasion and was sentenced on March 18 to six years in prison. Huston is currently facing 15 felony charges contained in five separate indictments. He is awaiting trial. Huston’s companies, TMP Services and K & N Consulting, were also indicted and will be tried with Huston.
The case was brought by the federal agents of the Guardians Project and was investigated by the agents of the Offices of Inspector General of the Departments of Interior, Health and Human Services, and Environmental Protection Agency, as well as by the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Division.
Additional details about the crimes to which Rosette entered guilty pleas can be found on PACER in the Government’s Offer of Proof.