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Woman pleads guilty in travel fraud case against domestic violence victims organization

Woman pleads guilty in travel fraud case against domestic violence victims organization

A woman charged with misappropriating federal funds in her advocacy work for victims of domestic violence admitted charges Thursday.

Barbara Daychief, 44, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to a single count of theft of federal funds.

Daychief was originally charged with several counts, including wire fraud, fraudulent travel claims and misprision of a felony, which is the concealment of one's knowledge of a felony.

Daychief was a board member of Montana Native Women’s Coalition, an organization dedicated to fighting violence against Native women. Prosecutors said she and two others wrongly claimed travel money for a trip to Las Vegas in November 2017.

Daychief claimed $1,874.18 in funds for the trip. She said Thursday she did not end up going on the trip but kept the money, which came from the Office on Violence Against Women.

Also charged are Sheryl Lawrence and Meredith McConnell. 

Lawrence was scheduled for a change of plea on Thursday but arrived ill and the hearing was reset. McConnell remains set for trial.

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