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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Montana

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Former Chippewa Cree Tribal Chairman Chance Houle Sentenced to Prison

GREAT FALLS – Former Chippewa Cree Tribal Chairman John Chance Houle, 51, of Box Elder, was sentenced to 68 months in prison, $646,456 in restitution, three years of supervised release to follow his incarceration, and $400 in special assessments.  Houle appeared before U.S. District Judge Brian Morris in Great Falls to receive the sentence.

In December of last year, Houle pleaded guilty to accepting kick-back payments from Hunter Burns Construction and Dr. James Eastlick in exchange for facilitating the award and payment on tribal contracts.  In another indictment Houle pleaded guilty to embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Chippewa Cree Rodeo Association and obstructing a federal grand jury investigation.  In a third indictment, Houle pleaded guilty to one of four counts of tax evasion.

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 Criminal Investigation Division.  Parole has been abolished in the federal system.  A federally convicted defendant will serve the entirety of the sentence imposed less a small amount of “good time” credit earned while incarcerated.

Additional details can be found at:

Press Release Number: 
LAURA WEISS, Public Information Officer, (406) 457-5274
Updated July 30, 2015