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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of South Dakota

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, October 1, 2018

Former Treasurer of the Crow Creek District Business Committee Appeared in Federal Court on Embezzlement Charges

Defendant Prosecuted as Part of the Guardians Project, a Federal Law Enforcement Initiative to Combat Corruption, Fraud, and Abuse

United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that a former treasurer of the Crow Creek District Business Committee appeared in federal court on September 27, 2018, in Pierre, South Dakota, and entered a guilty plea.  Lana Steele, former treasurer of the Crow Creek District Business Committee, was charged with Embezzlement and Theft from an Indian Tribal Organization. 

Lana Steele, age 52, of Chamberlain, South Dakota, appeared yesterday in federal court on the superseding information charging her with one count of embezzlement.  The maximum term of imprisonment upon conviction is up to 1 year in federal prison, a $100,000 fine, 1 year of supervised release, and a special assessment of $25 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.  Restitution may also be ordered.

According to Steele’s plea agreement, between November 2013 and November 2015, she willfully and knowingly embezzled, misapplied, and converted to her own use monies, funds, credits, goods, assets, and other property belonging to the Crow Creek District Business Committee, an Indian Tribal Organization.  Steele pleaded guilty to a federal misdemeanor and has agreed to pay restitution.

The investigation is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Meghan N. Dilges is prosecuting the case.

The case was brought pursuant to The Guardians Project, a federal law enforcement initiative to coordinate efforts between participating agencies, to promote citizen disclosure of public corruption, fraud, and embezzlement involving federal program funds, contracts, and grants, and to hold accountable those who are responsible for adversely affecting those living in South Dakota’s Indian country communities.  The Guardians Project is another step of federal law enforcement’s on-going efforts to increase engagement, coordination, and positive action on behalf of tribal communities.  Led by the United States Attorney’s Office, the participating agencies include: Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Offices of Inspector General for the Departments of Interior, Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration, Agriculture, Transportation, Education, Justice, and Housing and Urban Development; Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division; U.S. Postal Inspector Service; U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General.

For additional information about The Guardians Project, please contact the United States Attorney’s Office at (605) 330-4400.  To report a suspected crime, please contact law enforcement at the federal agency’s locally listed telephone number.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Indian Country Law and Justice
Component(s): 
Updated October 1, 2018