PIERRE — Two former Crow Creek Sioux Tribe leaders were sentenced to prison time and a third was sentenced to probation Monday for embezzling hundreds of thousands of tribal dollars.
Roland Hawk Sr., Francine Middletent and Jacqueline Pease were ordered by U.S. District Judge Roberto A. Lange to pay a total of $673,680.05 in restitution to the tribe.
Hawk, who previously served as the tribe's treasurer, was sentenced to 42 months in prison, and Middletent, who had worked in the tribe's finance office, was sentenced to 30 months. They were ordered to pay $325,762.50 and $273,817.55 in restitution, respectively, and both will follow their prison sentences with three years of supervised release.
Pease, who court documents indicate also worked in the Crow Creek finance office, was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay $74,100 in restitution.
Hawk, Middletent and Sazue are among six former tribal leaders charged in federal court with embezzling from the tribe's general welfare account between March 2014 and February 2019. As of March, all six had pleaded guilty to an embezzlement charge. Former Chairpersons Brandon Sazue and Roxanne Sazue, as well as former finance office employee Tina Grey Owl, are scheduled to be sentenced in May and June.
The six were indicted in July and August of 2019 on charges of theft and embezzlement. Under federal law, embezzlement and theft from a tribal organization carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine.
The total amount of money embezzled between all six people has not been specified, but plea-related documents indicate it could be $1.05 million at a maximum.
In January, Hawk pleaded guilty to stealing the more than $300,000 he now owes in restitution while acting as finance officer, an elected position that involved him overseeing the tribe's Wells Fargo checking account for the General Welfare Program. According to a factual basis statement, Brandon Sazue endorsed multiple checks for amounts that he distributed to co-defendants, including Hawk and Middletent, as well as more than $15,000 to himself.
Roxanne Sazue pleaded guilty in September to receiving between $15,000 and $40,000 from the tribe's general welfare fund, and court documents indicate Pease acted under the direction of Hawk and others. She and Grey Owl have pleaded guilty to receipt of between $40,000 and $95,000 and more than $95,000, respectively.
Hawk, Middletent and Pease were all ordered Monday to pay a $100 special assessment.
Hawk is scheduled to stand trial in June for federal allegations of aggravated sexual abuse and abusive sexual contact in 2018 in Fort Thompson. An arrest warrant is also pending in the Las Vegas Township Justice Court involving allegations that in 2017, he sexually assaulted a girl under the age of 16 in Las Vegas.