GREAT FALLS – Theodora Ann Morsette, the former finance manager of the Rocky Boy Health Board Clinic in Box Elder, has been convicted of three felony counts of embezzlement and theft for taking more than $156,000 that was provided to the tribe for the operation and services of the Clinic.
A press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office says that between 2010 and 2013, Morsette regularly accessed tribal coffers for payments over and above her $90,000 per year salary and authorized supplemental compensation package with the Chippewa Cree Tribe.
Morsette received a base pay of $82,000 per year plus a retirement benefit of 11.5% plus a negotiated supplemental pay stipend from the tribe.
Over the four year period reviewed by investigators, Morsette obtained an additional $156,493 in unauthorized overtime, double pay, severance pay [although she never severed her government service], unauthorized supplemental pay, and retirement advances.
Morsette testified that she believed that she was entitled to the additional payments because she worked hard and the over-payments had been approved by her supervisor, Clinic CEO Fawn Tadios.
Tadios was indicted and convicted of embezzling tribal funds in June of 2014. Judge Morris sentenced Tadios to a year in prison on October 22, 2014. She has appealed her conviction and was released pending appeal by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Morsette has been released pending sentencing.
Prior to working at the Health Clinic's Finance Office, Morsette had been a Bureau of Indian Affairs loan officer. She was indicted and convicted of embezzling $6,453 in 1994 and given a three year sentence of probation.
Sentencing for Morsette has been scheduled for April 20, 2015.
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