Former OST President Guilty On All Counts In Travel Voucher Embezzlement Case


     A federal jury in Rapid City needed only 90-minutes on Thursday to find former Oglala Sioux Tribe President Julian Bear Runner guilty on all charges accusing him of embezzling from the tribe through phony travel vouchers.

     The 37-year old Bear Runner’s bail has been revoked and he will remain in custody until sentencing on 6 counts of wire fraud and single counts of larceny and of embezzlement and theft from a Native American tribal organization.

      The youngest man ever elected OST president, Bear Runner faces up to 20 years in prison on each of the wire fraud counts plus 5 years for the embezzlement and theft charge. Larceny has a maximum of 1 year.

       After 2 days of testimony that included a forensic accountant who said the paperwork Bear Runner turned in for tribal-related travel often put him 2 places at the same time and showed he couldn’t have made all the listed trips.

     In closing arguments Thursday morning, prosecutors told the jury that witness testimony, receipts, travel forms, and other documents showed beyond a reasonable doubt that Bear Runner had stolen $80,000 from the tribe.

      Bear Runner’s defense argued that he had no intention of breaking the law and stealing from the tribe, saying he didn’t know some forms were being filled out and that the system should have deducted money not used for travel from his pay.