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Fort Yates woman ordered to pay back nearly $73,000 for keeping money from mortgaged livestock

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BISMARCK, North Dakota — A North Dakota woman has been ordered to pay back nearly $73,000 for keeping proceeds from loans and livestock that were mortgaged to the U.S. Agriculture Department's Farm Service Agency.

Tara Thomas, of Fort Yates, pleaded guilty to conversion of mortgaged property. In exchange for plea, the government dropped a false statements charge.

Authorities say the scheme took place between September 2008 and September 2011.

U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland sentenced Thomas to six months in prison and ordered her to pay $72,701 in restitution.

A public defender was not immediately available for comment.

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