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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Criminal Justice Quote: A Native American Embezzles Federal Funds

     The former director of the Blackfeet Tribe's Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program in Great Falls, Montana, has pleaded guilty to embezzlement and fraud after stealing nearly $300,000 from the federally funded program. Between 2006, when Sandra Marie Sanderville became director, to her dismissal in 2010, Sanderville divised schemes in which she would overpay TANF beneficiaries, who would then cash the illicit checks and give a portion back to Sanderville. She would also provide checks to people who were not eligible for the program and received portions back from that as well. She later told investigators that she misled the beneficiaries by telling them that the extra money was from a grant or another fund and that the money they gave to her was going back to TANF.

     Sanderville was able to keep her activities under wraps for four years because she was able to "restrict" access to the records. However, when the Blackfeet Tribe's Internal Affairs Office began an investigation, Sanderville attempted to destroy the documents dealing with the fraud scheme. Investigators were still able to identify the scheme through a back up computer located out of state….

     Sanderville pleaded guilty in February 2014 before Untied States Magistrate Judge Keith Strong….In interviews with investigators, Sanderville…explained that she had developed a gambling habit which cost her hundreds of dollars a week….She faces up to 10 years in prison….

Caroline May, "Former Welfare Office Head, With Gambling Habit, Embezzles Nearly $300,000," The Daily Caller, March 7, 2014 

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