A former employee of the Northern Arapaho tribe’s Department of Social Services has pleaded guilty to embezzlement, a charge she faced after authorities said she and two others took roughly $135,000 in federal funds.
Melody St. Clair entered her plea Monday in a federal courtroom in Cheyenne. In exchange for her plea, prosecutors dismissed a second charge of conspiracy.
St. Clair and two others - George Moss, the former director of the tribe’s Department of Social Services, and Amanda Addison, a former payroll clerk - were indicted in January on three counts each related to the embezzlement.
Moss was the executive director at the time of the embezzlement, from 2005 to 2006, while Addison and St. Clair worked beneath him.
Earlier this year, Moss pleaded guilty to embezzlement and Addison was convicted after a jury trial.
Moss and Addison are scheduled to be sentenced later this month. St. Clair is slated for a sentencing hearing in January. They each face up to 10 years behind bars.
According to the indictment, Moss, St. Clair and Addison conspired to prepare and approve pay advances or loans using federal funds. St. Clair, a former finance administrator for the tribal department, reportedly received more than $65,000 and Addison, a former payroll clerk, more than $70,000. The two requested the money, which was then approved by Moss, according to court documents.
The money was meant to help tribal members and families become self-sufficient and to assist with child welfare services.