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Former Blackfeet official accused of stealing $78K+ from tribe

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Posted at 5:32 PM, Nov 02, 2023

GREAT FALLS — Former Blackfeet Nation Public Information Officer James McNeely has been indicted for allegedly stealing from the tribe and wire fraud, specifically related to American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding.

According to court documents filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Montana, from October 2021 through October 2022, McNeely was working as Operations Manager for the Blackfeet Tribe.

During that time, he requested reimbursement for more than $78,000 of purchases from Amazon for COVID-19 supplies and other items for the tribe.

McNeely is accused of not purchasing those items as he claimed but still receiving and keeping the money from the tribe. He is further alleged to have submitted photographs of his Amazon shopping cart and quotes from a local business to make the claims appear legitimate.

Click here to read the full indictment (PDF).

james mneely

McNeely has been charged with two felonies: theft from an Indian tribal government receiving federal funding, and wire fraud.

McNeely is scheduled to be arraigned in federal court in Great Falls on November 28 at 1:30 p.m.