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Case closed: Plea deals reached in missing Pawhuska village money cases

Three defendants in the Pawhuska Indian Village missing money cases reached plea deals with the Osage Nation Attorney General’s office to receive deferred jail sentences and will pay restitution and court costs.

Theodore Brunt, Kenneth “K.C.” Bills and Joe Don Mashunkashey agreed to their respective plea deals on March 2 in ON Trial Court with Brunt pleading “guilty” and the other two plead “no contest” in the cases against them regarding the missing Pawhuska village money reported in a 2012 Office of Fiscal Performance and Review audit of the village finances.

Presiding Associate Trial Court Judge Lee Stout accepted the plea deals presented by the AG’s office, but also slapped on a $100 deferment fee per charge against the three men.

The following plea deals were executed in court against the three former Five-Man Board members who waived their rights to a trial:

– Brunt plead “guilty” to two counts of misusing public funds while five other counts were dropped against him.

As part of the plea deal, Brunt will pay $36,000 in restitution to the Nation, $55 for court costs and each count contains a five-year deferred jail sentence, which will run consecutively, said Assistant Attorney General Clint Patterson.

Stout advised the defendants the plea deals will also include a $100 deferment fee per count of misusing public funds, so Brunt will pay an additional $200.

On the $100 deferment fee per count, Stout said “it seems we’ve had a history of officials in a position of trust with the government that use funds for their own benefit, just pay it back and call it good – I have a problem with that. What I feel is more appropriate on behalf of the Osage Nation, on behalf of the people is that some type of penalty be assessed for doing this.” 

– For his plea deal, Bills pled “no contest” to two counts of misusing public funds and five other counts were dismissed. He will pay $24,000 in restitution, $55 in court fees, serve two consecutive five-year deferred jail sentences and received $200 in deferment fees.

– Mashunkashey also pled “no contest” to two counts of misusing public funds and five other counts were dismissed. He will pay $50,000 in restitution, $55 in court fees, serve two consecutive five-year deferred jail sentences and received $200 in deferment fees.

Stout said the terms and conditions of the deferment sentence for all three men include an agreement that they stay out of trouble during the jail sentence time and do not commit any crimes, whether they are under city, state, federal or tribal jurisdictions.

A fourth defendant, Frank Redcorn, who also served on the Five-Man Board, accepted a plea deal to pay $2,090 in restitution and $55 in court costs after pleading “guilty” to two counts of misusing public funds in December, according to court documents.

In the four cases, the ON Attorney General’s office filed numerous counts of misusing public funds in regards to a 2012 ON Office of Fiscal Performance and Review audit report that stated over $806,000 in village revenue is unaccounted for and called for government officials to take action in wake of the findings.

The AG’s office launched an investigation to determine whether tribal charges are warranted. The U.S. Attorney’s Office and FBI also investigated the issue in 2013, but declined to file federal charges of embezzlement in the cases.


By

Benny Polacca


Original Publish Date: 2016-04-04 00:00:00

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Benny Polaccahttps://osagenews.org
Benny Polacca started at the Osage News in 2009 as a reporter and has covered various stories and events impacting the Osage Nation and Osage people. Polacca is part of the News team awarded the Native American Journalist Association’s Elias Boudinot Free Press Award in 2014 and other NAJA Media Awards and SPJ Oklahoma Pro Chapter awards for news coverage and photography. Polacca is an Arizona State University graduate and participated in the former American Indian Journalism Institute at the University of South Dakota. He previously worked at The Forum newspaper covering the Fargo, N.D. region as the weeknight reporter.
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