A former payroll clerk for Lodge Grass Public Schools admitted Thursday to embezzling at least $10,000 from the school district.
Appearing before Senior U.S. District Judge Sam Haddon in Helena, Kaylene Shane Red Wolf, 44, of Hardin, pleaded guilty to theft from a local government receiving federal funds. A second count is to be dismissed at sentencing under the terms of a plea deal.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Carl Rostad said in court records the loss to the school is about $10,000 but that the total amount is to be determined. The thefts happened between November 2011 and August 2012, court records said.
Red Wolf used a double salary scheme in which she issued herself a partial paycheck even though she also paid herself through direct deposit for the same hours worked, Rostad said.
Red Wolf also wrote herself checks for hours not documented as having been worked for overtime and holiday pay.
Red Wolf told authorities she had intended to repay the money but hadn’t because she was having financial troubles.
Lodge Grass Public Schools, which is on the Crow Reservation, receives about $4.5 million a year in federal funding.
Haddon set sentencing for Jan. 6 in Helena and continued Red Wolf’s release. Red Wolf faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and a possible $250,000 fine.
The investigation was conducted by a team of agents and auditors with the U.S. Attorney’s Guardians Project, which investigates fraud and corruption in federal grants and contracts in Indian Country.