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Former Montana Native Women's Coalition Director Charged With Theft, Wire Fraud

Gavel.
Gavel.

Federal prosecutors say the former executive director of a nonprofit working to bolster domestic violence services for Native women in Montana was a part of a scheme to steal federal grant money.

U.S. Attorney’s office charged the former executive director of the Montana Native Women’s Coalition Sheryl Lawrence Thursday.

Prosecutors allege Lawrence was taking part in a scheme to steal federal grant dollars funding the nonprofit.

Theft of federal grant funds and wire fraud are among the four charges Lawrence faces. She pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Lawrence is the third person to be charged in the case. Federal prosecutors charged former board chairwoman Meredith McConnell and former board treasurer Barbara Daychief this summer. They both pleaded not guilty.

Authorities say all three women were reimbursed for non-approved trips, including to Las Vegas, and that they fraudulently took double pay for their work.

The nonprofit's former executive director Toni Plummer-Alvernaz pleaded guilty in 2017 to stealing from the coalition and was sentenced to one year in prison.

Federal authorities say McConnell and Daychief were among those to receive special training following Plummer-Alvernaz’s sentencing.

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