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Spirit Lake tribal official found guilty of embezzlement

Justin Yankton, former secretary-treasurer of the Spirit Lake Indian Tribe at Fort Totten, N.D., was found guilty Wednesday by a federal jury in Fargo of theft and embezzlement of a tribal organization.

Justin Yankton, former secretary-treasurer of the Spirit Lake Indian Tribe at Fort Totten, N.D., was found guilty Wednesday by a federal jury in Fargo of theft and embezzlement of a tribal organization.

Yankton, 38, is scheduled to be sentenced April 23. The charge has a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

U.S. Attorney Timothy Purdon said in a news release that Yankton knew his family was receiving improper fuel assistance. He and Brooke Black, with their children, live in Fort Totten. Black applied to receive benefits meant for low-income homes, omitting Yankton's name and income from the application.

That meant Yankton's family received the improper assistance, which comes from the federal government administered through the tribal government, from October 2008 through March 2001, Purdon said.

According to the tribe's website, the position of secretary-treasurer is open.

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