GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) - A jury on Friday convicted a consultant for the Blackfeet Indian tribe of bankruptcy fraud, but could not decide on more than two dozen other charges against him in a scheme to defraud a $9.3 million mental health program, federal prosecutors said.
U.S. District Judge Brian Morris declared a mistrial for the 27 other charges in the indictment against Gary Conti. Prosecutors said they will ask the court to set another trial date on those counts.
Sentencing for Conti on the bankruptcy fraud charge has been set for June 20, the U.S. attorney’s office said.
Prosecutors allege the retired Oklahoma State University professor kicked back more than $230,000 of the $475,000 his company received from the federally funded Po’Ka Project to accounts controlled by the program’s tribal leaders.
Conti’s attorney, Josh Van de Wetering, said the fraud was perpetuated by those leaders, Francis Onstad and Delyle “Shanny” Augare. The money Conti returned was meant to be a donation to the Blackfeet community, Conti previously told FBI agents.
Conti, who filed for bankruptcy in Oklahoma court in 2009, was charged with concealing from those proceedings the assets and property he received from the Po’Ka Project.
Conti’s other charges included conspiracy to defraud the U.S., wire fraud, false claims, theft of federal property and money laundering.
Onstad, Augare and three other people who worked on the program to provide services for troubled youth have pleaded guilty to charges related to the defrauding of the program.
The project received $9.3 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services over six years starting in 2005.
Onstad, Augare and Dorothy May Still Smoking are scheduled to be sentenced on June 5. Katheryn Sherman is to be sentenced the following day.
Administrative assistant Charlotte New Breast was given a probationary sentence in February and ordered to pay $50,000 in restitution.
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