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Justice News

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

Friday, October 21, 2016

Sisseton Woman Sentenced for Theft of Government Property

United States Attorney Randolph J. Seiler announced that a Sisseton, South Dakota, woman convicted of Theft of Government Property was sentenced on October 17, 2016, by U.S. District Judge Charles B. Kornmann.

Sharon M. Nelson, age 62, was sentenced to 5 years of probation, $6,648.75 in restitution, and a special assessment of $100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.

          Nelson was indicted by a federal grand jury on December 8, 2015.  She pled guilty to Theft of Government Property on July 11, 2016.

          The conviction arose out of a land sale as part of the Land Buy Back Program for Tribal Nations, administered by the Office of the Special Trustee within the United States Department of the Interior.  Through the Land Buy Back Program, tribal members are able to sell their land to the Federal Government, who in turn moves the land into trust for that particular Tribe.  Nelson sold some of her land as part of the Land Buy Back Program, and a check was issued to her by the United States Treasury for $8,889.17.  When Nelson claimed that the check was never received, the Office of the Special Trustee deposited the same amount of money, $8,889.17, directly into her personal bank account, cancelled the original check, and told Nelson if she ever received the original check at a later date to bring it to the office and not attempt to cash it.  Approximately six months later, Nelson cashed the original check of $8,889.17.  The monies were drawn out of the U.S. Treasury, and all but $2,000 was quickly spent by Nelson.  The Office of the Special Trustee had to reimburse the U.S. Treasury for the amount of the cashed check and was still owed $6,889.17 after Nelson paid them the $2,000 in unspent funds.  Nelson has since paid the Office of Special Trustee $240.42 towards the debt.

          This case was investigated by the United States Department of the Interior Office of the Inspector General.  Assistant U.S. Attorney SaraBeth Donovan prosecuted the case.

          Nelson was released following sentencing.

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Updated October 21, 2016