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2 ex-Omaha tribal officials get probation for misuse of funds

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OMAHA -- Two former Omaha Tribal Council members were sentenced Friday to probation for misusing federal funds to give themselves bonuses.

U.S. District Judge Robert Rossiter Jr. sentenced both Tillie Aldrich and Jessica Webster to five years of probation and ordered them to pay restitution.

Aldrich, 48, was ordered to pay $13,404. According to court records, Aldrich has already paid $8,136 of that amount. Webster, 47, must pay $89,000 in restitution.

Both had previously pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Omaha to one count of misapplication of health care benefit program funds. Their sentences had been spelled out in plea agreements with federal prosecutors. Other charges against them were dismissed as part of their agreements.

Aldrich and Webster, a former council treasurer, were among nine tribal officials accused of using federal funds to award bonuses ranging from $13,404 to $89,693 to themselves. Former council members Rodney Morris, Forrest Aldrich, Doran Morris Jr., Mitchell Parker and Amen Sheridan, current council member Jeff Miller and former tribal employee Barbara Freemont all have pleaded guilty to misapplication of health care benefit program funds.

Rodney Morris, Freemont and Forrest Aldrich were sentenced earlier this month to probation and ordered to pay restitution.

The remaining four are scheduled to be sentenced in October.

A federal indictment filed in September 2016 charged the nine with conspiracy, conversion and misapplication of funds from a program receiving federal funds. The indictment, the result of a state and federal investigation, accused them of granting themselves $388,972 in incentive payments from Indian Health Service funds meant to provide health care to tribal members through the Carl T. Curtis Health Education Center.

Copyright 2018 The Sioux City Journal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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