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Crow Creek official convicted of felony

PIERRE -- A member of the Crow Creek Tribal Council pleaded guilty Monday in federal court at Pierre to misprision of a felony.

Loren "Rocky" Fallis, 58, of Fort Thompson, is scheduled to be sentenced in July for concealing information from authorities investigating a bribery and kickback conspiracy among Crow Creek tribal officials.

Misprision of a felony occurs when a person conceals the fact a felony took place but did not participate in the act. He was indicted in December.

Fallis faces a maximum of three years in prison followed by three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine. According to the plea agreement, he also agreed to pay $1,000 in restitution and a $100 special assessment.

In exchange for the plea, U.S. attorneys agreed to drop a charge of making a false statement.

Fallis' case is associated with several other Crow Creek tribal officials who have been found guilty of bribery, conspiracy to bribe an official, and similar charges.

The charges stem from a meeting on Oct. 21, 2008, between tribal officials and Archie Baumann, owner of First Dakota Enterprise. According to court documents, at the conclusion of the meeting it was decided Baumann would write a $5,000 check to then-Crow Creek tribal chairman Duane Big Eagle. Big Eagle cashed the check, and then returned to distribute the money between each official at the meeting. The meeting was audio recorded.

For failing to report the incident as soon as possible, Fallis was charged with misprision of a felony.

The false statement charge was made in connection with a statement given to investigators about the Oct. 21, 2008, meeting denied any knowledge of the meeting, or about any of the bribes being paid to officials.

Fallis was re-elected to the Crow Creek tribal council in the spring of 2010.

Big Eagle was sentenced in August to three years in prison for two counts of conspiracy to bribe a tribal official and one count of aiding and abetting the bribery of a tribal official. He filed an appeal of the conviction on Dec. 13.