Willie Sharp, the former chairman of the Blackfeet Tribe, plead guilty to wire fraud Wednesday after admitting to charges in an overtime pay scheme that defrauded a child assistance program of $174,000.
The prosecution said in court records that Sharp authorized and approved overtime at the Blackfeet Head Start Program knowing that the overtime claims were false According to a release from the Department of Justice.
More than 5,800 false overtime hours were claimed over a 15-month period from the program, totaling $174,000 in overtime pay.
Two different firms audited the Blackfeet Head Start program after the fraud was discovered. Both audits questioned the overtime claims and called them, “beyond necessary and reasonable” and lacking any supporting documentation according to the DOJ release.
After an internal review, the Blackfeet Tribe agreed the overtime claims could not be justified and repaid the US Department of Health and Human Services $250,620.29 for disallowed costs and other expenses.
Theresa Calf Boss Ribs, Patrick Calf Boss Ribs, Carol Bird, Allen Shane Gross and Sharp’s wife, Denise Sharp, were already convicted and sentenced in the case.
Sharp’s sentencing is set for March 3, 2020 and he could face up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine.