Six charged with retaliating against a witness on central SD reservation

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FORT THOMPSON, S.D.—Six people have been charged in federal court in South Dakota with retaliating against a witness in a fraud case.

All six have entered not guilty pleas in the case, which stems from a case on the Crow Creek Indian Reservation in central South Dakota.

Charged in the case are Tally Colombe, 43, of Fort Worth, Texas; Elnita Rank, 81, of Fort Thompson; Kristal Hawk, 57, of Fort Thompson; Ronda Hawk, 60, of Fort Thompson; Tiffany Monteau, 43, of Chamberlain; and Stefan Monteau, 26, of Fort Thompson.

Each faces up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of $250,000.

The indictment against the six claims that between last Sept. 8 to Sept. 12, on the reservation, the six conspired and agreed among themselves to take action against an unnamed person to retaliate against that person for providing information to a law enforcement officer relating to fraud and wire fraud involving a program on the reservation.

The case is being investigated by the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's office in South Dakota.

Last year, Colombe, a member of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe, pleaded guilty to wire fraud and federal program fraud in federal court in Pierre for stealing funds from Hunkpati Investments on the reservation.

She had served as the executive director of the nonprofit native community development financial institution based on the reservation. Hunkpati Investments has a goal of supporting the financial stability of individuals, families and businesses on the reservation and in the central South Dakota Indian community through providing homeownership, financial education, credit repair loans and planning, mortgage financing referrals, and business loans.

In another charge filed in February on the reservation, LeeAnn Piskuloe, 53, the Crow Creek tribal court administrator, was charged with embezzlement and theft from an Indian tribal organization.

Piskuloe was indicted on Feb. 14 and faces up to five years in prison. Her indictment alleges that from May through August of last year, she embezzled more than $1,000 from the tribal court.