Department of Justice
United States Attorney Timothy Q. Purdon
District of Notrh Dakota
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
| CONTACT: JULIE HOUGH
PHONE: (701) 297-7400
FAX: (701) 297-7405
Eight Members of the Spirit Lake Tribe Indicted in Federal Court
GRAND FORKS- United States Attorney Timothy Q. Purdon announced today that eight members of the Spirit Lake Tribe have been indicted by a federal grand jury and charged with conspiracy to embezzle from an Indian tribal organization and aiding and abetting.
The indictment alleges that as part of the conspiracy, the defendants did willfully embezzle, steal, and misapply property, moneys, funds, and credits belonging to the Vocational Rehabilitation Program, a program administered by the Spirit Lake Tribe, Fort Totten, North Dakota.
The eight defendants; Martina Kazena, William Kazena, Raymond Jetty, III, Tanya Jetty, Shaela Jetty, Lorna Walking Eagle, Rochelle Walking Eagle and Bruce Walking Eagle made their initial appearances on May 7, 2011, before United States Magistrate Judge Alice R. Senechal in United States District Court in Grand Forks, ND.
The eight defendants appeared at various times for arraignment. Raymond and Tanya Jetty pleaded not guilty on May 7, 2011. Bruce Walking Eagle, Rochelle Walking Eagle, and Lorna Walking Eagle pleaded not guilty on May 16, 2011. William Kazena and Shaela Jetty pleaded not guilty on May 17, 2011, and Martina Kazena pleaded not guilty on May 24, 2011.
The statutory maximum sentence for conspiracy to embezzle from an Indian tribal organization is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Purdon stressed that an indictment is simply the method by which a person is charged with criminal activity and raises no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
A trial for all defendants is scheduled for July 12, 2011, in United States District Court in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
Assistant United States Attorney Janice M. Morley is prosecuting the cases.