Former Blackfeet operations manager indicted on theft, wire fraud

The former operations manager of the Blackfeet Tribe was indicted last week on allegations that he stole over $70,000 from the tribe under the guise that he was purchasing COVID-19 supplies with federal assistance funds.

James C. McNeely is facing 12 charges in Montana U.S. District Court of theft from an Indian Tribal Government receiving federal funding, wire fraud and theft from an Indian Tribal Organization, court filings show.

McNeely did not immediately return a phone call for comment. Calls to the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council went unanswered on Thursday.

McNeely also previously served as the tribe’s Public Information Officer.

The Blackfeet Tribe received federal money through the American Rescue Plan Act, also known as ARPA, to help with the public health and economic recovery amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the indictment, which was filed on Oct. 25.

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While employed as operations manager for the tribe, McNeely allegedly falsified reimbursement vouchers to the tribe, which “resulted in McNeely receiving money that he was not entitled to receive, in whole and in part,” the indictment states.

McNeely claimed he bought COVID-19 supplies from the online retailer Amazon for the tribe when he

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