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Montana businessman hit with more charges in Chippewa Cree corruption investigation

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HELENA, Montana — A new criminal indictment charges a businessman with bribing the head of the Chippewa Cree tribe's roads department and overcharging for the work his company did as part of a $10.6 million federal stimulus grant to the tribe.

The federal grand jury indictment unsealed Tuesday charges Shad Huston, of Havre, with bribery, wire fraud, false claims conspiracy and false claims against a federally funded project. Those come on top of charges in three other pending cases accusing Huston of embezzlement conspiracy, bribing other tribal officials and failing to report financial transactions of more than $10,000.

Huston pleaded not guilty to the new charges during a court appearance in Great Falls on Tuesday. He pleaded not guilty to the earlier charges as well after withdrawing a guilty plea last year to charges of theft, bribery and failure to file currency transaction reports.

The new indictment alleges that Huston gave tribal roads director Timothy Rosette $5,000 or more in exchange for a contract with Huston's K Bar K Trucking. It says Huston submitted inflated invoices for the work the company did, then used the extra money for his and Rosette's benefit.

The work was part of a $10.6 million in federal stimulus aid the tribe received between 2009 and 2011 for road construction and maintenance, and for the operation of the tribe's roads department.

Huston's public defender, Anthony Gallagher, said he could not comment on any pending matters before the court.

Rosette was indicted in January on charges of taking a bribe and theft from an Indian tribal organization. He has pleaded not guilty.

U.S. District Judge Brian Morris set a trial date for Huston on Aug. 31.

Federal prosecutors heading a wide-ranging corruption investigation at the Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation say Huston also bribed or provided gifts to former chairman Bruce Sunchild and former Chippewa Cree Construction Corp. head Tony Belcourt to secure contracts and payments for his companies. Sunchild and Belcourt are both in prison after making plea agreements with prosecutors.

Huston has an Aug. 24 trial date set in the Belcourt bribery case, and the trial in the Sunchild bribery case is scheduled for Oct. 19. He is scheduled to go to trial on Oct. 26 on the charge of failing to report the financial transactions.

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