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A former Fort Peck tribal police officer will spend six months in prison for stealing $40,000 from a youth diversion program he began.

Willard Wilson White III, 44, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Great Falls Wednesday to prison for wire fraud and income tax evasion.

White pitched the idea for a youth diversion program to the Fort Peck Law and Justice Committee in July 2015, according to the government’s offer of proof.

White lamented to the committee that the Assiniboine and Sioux tribes’ youngest were “losing their cultural identity through incarceration and separation from their families,” the government filing notes.

The committee then agreed to the program, but within a month, White had spent the money.

White used it to buy a Jeep, visit a strip club in North Dakota, and make purchases at Best Buy, Scheels, Boot Barn and other stores, according to filings by the government.

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After his prison term, White must serve two years of supervised release.

As part of a plea agreement, prosecutors dropped one charge of theft from an Indian tribal organization. 

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He has agreed to $40,000 in restitution to the Fort Peck Tribes, under the terms of a plea deal.

White will also be required to pay $18,050 to the Internal Revenue Service for taxes on the unreported $40,000 in income as well as a refund for claiming dependents he was not entitled to claim.

As part of a plea deal, prosecutors in the Western District of Washington have agreed not to charge White with tax crimes from 2017 or fraud charges from that state.

White will self-report to prison, according to an order from Judge Brian Morris. 

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