Prosecutors seek $944K from former Blackfeet chair

LEWIS AND CLARK COUNTY

Associated Press
POSTED: 3:02 PM Nov 18 2013   UPDATED: 4:09 PM Nov 18 2013
HELENA, Mont. -

Federal prosecutors say a former Blackfeet tribal chairman lied to claim part of a settlement with Native American farmers who were denied access to U.S. Department of Agriculture loans.
    
The U.S. attorney's office is seeking more than $944,000 from Patrick Thomas in a civil complaint filed this month.
    
The complaint alleges Thomas fraudulently claimed the USDA discriminated against him.
    
Prosecutors say there was no discrimination and Thomas received multiple loans and other financial assistance from the USDA.
    
Thomas received loan forgiveness, a settlement award and tax waivers amounting to more than $314,000.
    
They are seeking triple that amount in their false-claims complaint.
    
Last month, Thomas was sentenced to a year in prison and ordered to pay nearly $163,000 for selling property he pledged as collateral his loans.