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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Saturday, March 3, 2018

Guardians Project Results in Multiple Defendants Facing New Federal Indictments and Sentencing

United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced the indictments and sentencing in cases, all of which are separately noted below, that were brought pursuant to the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Guardians Project. The Guardians Project is 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 U.S. 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 U.S. 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.

Six Individuals Facing Federal Charge for Retaliating Against  Witness of a Previous Fraud Case

Tally Colombe, age 43, Fort Worth, Texas; Elnita Rank, age 81, Fort Thompson, South Dakota; Kristal Hawk, age 57, Fort Thompson; Ronda Hawk, age 60, Fort Thompson; Tiffany Monteau age 43, Chamberlain; and Stefan Monteau, age 26, Fort Thompson, were indicted on February 6, 2018, for Conspiracy to Retaliate Against a Witness.  All of these defendants, except Tally Colombe, appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark A. Moreno in February 2018, and all pled not guilty to the Indictment. 

Tally Colombe is currently serving a federal sentence of imprisonment in Texas, and she will make her appearance at a later date.  Colombe was convicted for federal offenses giving rise to and preceding this new Indictment alleging retaliation.  The maximum penalty upon conviction is up to 10 years in custody and/or a $250,000 fine, 3 years of supervised release, and $100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.  Restitution may also be ordered.

The Indictment alleges that from on or about September 8, 2017, and continuing through on or about September 12, 2017, at Fort Thompson and elsewhere, Tally Colombe, Elnita Rank, Kristal Hawk, Ronda Hawk, Tiffany Monteau, and Stefen Monteau conspired and agreed among themselves and each other to commit a certain offense, as follows: to knowingly take action harmful against a certain individual, which interfered with the lawful employment and livelihood of this individual, such conduct being taken with the intent to retaliate against this individual for providing to a law enforcement officer truthful information relating to the commission and possible commission of a federal offense, namely program fraud and wire fraud.  The alleged retaliatory conduct took place on the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe’s reservation.

The charge is merely an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. 

The investigation is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Ann Hoffman is prosecuting the case.

Former Crow Creek Tribal Court Administrator Charged with Embezzlement

LeeAnn Piskule, age 53, was indicted on February 14, 2018, for Embezzlement and Theft from an Indian Tribal Organization.  The maximum penalty upon conviction is up to 5 years in custody and/or a $250,000 fine, 3 years of supervised release, and $100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.  Restitution may also be ordered.

The Indictment alleged that from May through August 2017, Piskule embezzled and converted to her own use more than $1,000 of monies, funds, credits, goods, assets, and other property belonging to the Crow Creek Tribal Court, Crow Creek Sioux Tribe, an Indian Tribal Organization.  During the time of the embezzlement, Piskule was serving as the Crow Creek Tribal Court Administrator.

The charge is merely an accusation and Piskule is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. 

The investigation is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeremy R. Jehangiri is prosecuting the case.

Mission Man and Woman Charged with Wire Fraud

Mark Edward O’Leary, age 35, and Sharli Colombe, age 35, were indicted on February 14, 2018, for Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud and Wire Fraud.  They appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark A. Moreno on February 15, 2018, and both pled not guilty to the Indictment.  The maximum penalty upon conviction is up to 20 years in custody and/or a $250,000 fine, 3 years of supervised release, and $100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.  Restitution may also be ordered.

The Indictment alleges that between February 4, 2011, through June 6, 2017, O’Leary and Colombe passed at least 544 checks drawn on a bank account not belonging to either of them.  The checks were used for personal items for O’Leary and Colombe and the purchases or deposits were not authorized by the owner of the bank account.  Much of the alleged conspiracy and fraud took place on the Rosebud Sioux Tribe’s reservation.

The charges are merely accusations and O’Leary and Colombe are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. 

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

Former Director of Rosebud Tribal Ranch Sentenced for Embezzlement

Stormy Halligan, age 43, Winner, was sentenced on February 13, 2018, by U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark A. Moreno.  Halligan was sentenced to 18 months of federal probation.  He was ordered to pay approximately $10,000 in restitution.

According to court documents filed in Halligan’s case, between April 1, 2015, and March 31, 2016, he willfully and knowingly embezzled, misapplied, and converted to his own use monies, funds, credits, goods, assets, and other property belonging to the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Tribal Ranch, an Indian Tribal Organization.

The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeremy R. Jehangiri prosecuted the case.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Indian Country Law and Justice
Public Corruption
Component(s): 
Updated March 3, 2018