Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Former Crow Tribe comptroller pleads guilty to embezzling $30,000

A 43-year-old woman accused of embezzling money during her time as comptroller for the Crow Tribe pleaded guilty to stealing $30,000 last Thursday at U.S. District Court in Billings. Defendant Karla Elizabeth MacCatherine was employed as comptroller for the tribe from February 2013 to August 2014. Before the time set in the conviction, MacCatherine also worked as an accountant for the tribe from July 2008 to August 2010.

She is currently employed as finance director for the Yellowstone Art Museum in Billings.

A Friday press release from the Crow Executive Branch states that the investigation into MacCatherine’s activities began in 2014 after the tribe reported accounting discrepancies to the Office of Inspector General.

The ensuing OIG inspection into MacCatherine, the press release continues, revealed “instances of double payments to herself, [and] billing and getting paid for hours that she was on vacation.” She also failed to finish the tribe’s 2013 audit which, according to the press release, is “a primary responsibility of the Comptroller.”

Crow Chairman Darrin Old Coyote, in the release, stated the tribe “expects that the defendant be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

“Individuals who are entrusted with oversight and management of a Tribe’s finances are expected to be transparent and accountable at all times,” he stated. “This individual failed at fulfilling this very basic duty that she was hired to perform.”

Embezzlement from an Indian tribal organization carries a maximum punishment of five years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine and three years supervised release, in addition to a $100 special assessment.

MacCatherine’s sentencing date has not been set at press time.