Ex-tribal Chairman Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud
GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) — A former Blackfeet tribal chairman has pleaded guilty to wire fraud for his role in stealing from the Montana tribe’s Head Start program through an overtime pay scheme.
Prosecutors say Willie Sharp authorized false overtime claims totaling over $174,000, including payments to his wife, Denise Sharp, over a 15-month period starting in 2013. She and four others were convicted and sentenced to eight or nine months in prison.
Willie Sharp, 66, pleaded guilty Wednesday in Great Falls. U.S. District Judge Brian Morris allowed him to remain free until his March 3 sentencing.
An audit performed after the fraud was discovered resulted in the Blackfeet Tribe returning $250,000 in federal funding.