Federal Funds Stolen-Intended for Domestic Violence Victims-Montana Reservations


Federal funds intended for use in helping native women were used for other “pleasurable” purposes like trips to Las Vegas.


A former chairwoman of the Montana Native Women’s Coalition, Meredith McConnell, has been sentenced for stealing federal grant funds for unapproved travel to Las Vegas, Nevada, and other unauthorized expenses.

McConnell was found guilty at a trial on April 2 by a federal jury on all counts in a superseding indictment, including theft from a program receiving federal funding, wire fraud, and false claims.

The Department of Justice reports the court sentenced McConnell to four years of probation and ordered $29,114 restitution jointly and severally with co-defendant Sheryl Lynn Lawrence.

“As chairwoman of the Montana Native Women’s Coalition, McConnell was entrusted with the responsibility of using federal money to help domestic violence victims on Montana’s Indian reservations. McConnell even received training on how not to commit fraud. Yet, she committed fraud anyway and used the money for her own benefit. Those who misuse grant funds will be held accountable and prosecuted. I want to thank Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ryan G. Weldon and Bryan T. Dake and the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General for investigating and prosecuting this case.”

To read the full story, click here.


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