Prison, restitution ordered for ex-tribal leader convicted of defrauding Oglala Sioux Tribe

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — A federal judge on Thursday sentenced a former tribal leader in South Dakota to serve nearly two years in prison and pay tens of thousands in restitution after a jury convicted him earlier this year of defrauding his tribe.

Former Oglala Sioux Tribal President Julian Bear Runner, 39, of Batesland, was convicted in April of six counts of wire fraud, and larceny and embezzlement offenses. In 2022, a federal indictment alleged Bear Runner submitted vouchers when he was president in 2019 and 2020 for official trips to other states he didn’t take, and received about $80,000 in checks, which authorities said he cashed for his personal use, including gambling and hotel stays.

U.S. District Judge Linda Reade sentenced Bear Runner to 22 months in prison concurrently on each count, with three years supervised release. He also must pay about $82,000 in restitution to the tribe.

Bear Runner’s public defender did not immediately respond to a phone message or email for comment. Tribal President Frank Star Comes Out did not immediately respond to a phone message or text message for comment.

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