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Chippewa Cree tribal leaders indicted on new corruption charges

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HELENA, Montana — Two Chippewa Cree tribal leaders are accused of taking kickbacks from lucrative business contracts awarded for work on the Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation.

Chippewa Cree Business Committee member John "Chance" Houle and former chairman Bruce Sunchild were indicted Tuesday.

Houle pleaded not guilty. Sunchild pleaded not guilty later Tuesday after being arrested on the reservation.

Prosecutors say Houle received nearly $307,000 over two years in exchange for directing contracts to a construction company.

He also is accused of embezzling money from the Chippewa Cree Rodeo Association.

Prosecutors say Houle falsified records to cover his tracks once he learned of a federal investigation.

Prosecutors are charging Sunchild with buying a vehicle with kickbacks from $300,000 awarded to a consultant in 2011, and receiving $15,000 from the consultant in 2012.

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