A former chairman of the Blackfeet Nation has pleaded guilty to a federal wire fraud charge Wednesday. The former tribal leader faces up to 20 years in prison.
U.S. Department of Justice officials say former Blackfeet Tribal Chairman Willie Sharp admitted to signing off on $174,000 worth of fraudulent overtime over a 15-month period for five workers in the tribe’s Head Start Program, including his wife.
All of those workers have been convicted and sentenced for defrauding the child assistance program, which is supported with federal funding. Two independent audits found the 5,800 hours of overtime to be questionable and after its own audit, the tribe agreed.
Sharp could face up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. His sentencing hearing will be held in March.