- Associated Press - Monday, August 28, 2017

GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) - Two Las Vegas businessmen have been sentenced to 20 months in prison for their roles in defrauding a Montana Indian tribe’s online lending company.

The US Attorney’s Office says Zachary Brooke Roberts and Martin Gasper Mazarra were sentenced Friday in federal court in Great Falls. They and their company - Encore Services - must pay $2.5 million in restitution to the Chippewa Cree tribe.

Prosecutors say Encore Services was brought in to run the tribe’s first online lending company. It was not involved in the second one, called Plain Green, but still received $3.5 million and diverted $1.2 million back to others, including Neal Rosette and Billi Ann Morsette.

Prosecutors say Roberts and Mazarra initially got involved with the tribe to use tribal sovereignty to circumvent maximum interest rates and other state regulations for short-term lending companies.

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