PIERRE — Two former Crow Creek Sioux Tribe council members were sentenced to prison time and house arrest Monday for embezzling an estimated total of $235,600 in tribal funds.
Tina Grey Owl, 64, was sentenced to five months in prison and five months on house arrest, and Roxanne Sazue, 46, was sentenced to one month in prison and four months on house arrest.
Grey Owl and Sazue, who previously served as a councilperson and chairperson, respectively, are the fourth and fifth former Crow Creek officials to be sentenced in connection with an embezzlement scheme. Six people in total have pleaded guilty to involvement in embezzling and stealing about $1 million in total.
U.S. District Judge Roberto A. Lange ordered Sazue to pay $43,300 in restitution. Grey Owl is believed to have embezzled about $192,300 from the tribe, though an exact restitution amount will be determined at a later date. Both will spend two years on supervised release following their prison and house arrest sentences, and both were ordered to pay $100 special assessments to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.
Former treasurer Roland Hawk Sr., 51; former council member Francine Middletent, 55; and former finance office employee Jacqueline Pease, 34, were all sentenced May 4. Hawk and Middletent were sentenced to prison time, while Pease was sentenced to three years of supervised release. The three were ordered to pay a combined total of $673,680.05 in restitution.
Brandon Sazue, a former tribal chairperson, is scheduled to be sentenced on June 16. The six former tribal employees were all charged in May and June of 2019.
All five people who have been sentenced have been reported to have worked in the tribe's finance office with Hawk as the others' supervisor, giving all access to funds in the tribal general welfare account at various times between 2014 and 2019.
The case was filed based on the Guardians Project, a federal law enforcement initiative to publicly disclose crimes involving federal funds and hold responsible people negatively impacting the lives of those on South Dakota's reservations.
The U.S. Attorney's Office and FBI investigated the case, which was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeremy R. Jehangiri.