Montana Native Women's Coalition director sentenced for embezzle - KBZK.com | Continuous News | Bozeman, Montana

Montana Native Women's Coalition director sentenced for embezzlement

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Toni Louise Plummer-Alvernaz has been sentenced to one year in prison and ordered to pay $246,024 in restitution after being found guilty of embezzlement.

She was sentenced on Friday by U.S. District Chief Judge Dana Christensen in Great Falls.

Plummer-Alvernaz was the Executive Director for the Montana Native Women’s Coalition and the Women’s Resource Center, both in Glasgow.

The Montana Native Women’s Coalition was designed to improve urban, rural, and Native American community responses to victims of domestic and sexual violence.  The Women’s Resource Center provided educational seminars to the general public on issues such as health, parenting, career development, and violence prevention. 

The Coalition and Resource Center received approximately $1.6 million in federal grant funds from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Violence Against Women.

Court document state that Plummer-Alvernaz embezzled about 15% of the grants by inflating work hours, using the organization credit cards for vacations to Mount Rushmore and California, claiming travel when no such travel occurred, cash advances, bonuses, and paying family members money that they were not entitled to receive.

Prosecutor Ryan Weldon stated, “Ms. Plummer used federal funds as a slush fund to line her own pockets.”  Congress has attempted to address domestic violence in Montana, particularly in Indian Country, by providing federal funding.  But “Ms. Plummer chose to victimize victims yet again” by stealing that money, which was meant for some of the most vulnerable individuals in the community.  Weldon stated at sentencing that this type of crime “tears at the moral fabric of the community.” 

Judge Christensen agreed and sentenced Plummer-Alvernaz to a year in prison and ordered restitution of $246,024. 

(DECEMBER 7, 2016) Two administrators at a pair of Montana agencies designed to better the lives of battered and sexually abused Native American women are accused of stealing money from the nonprofits.

Brady Lynn Funk and Toni Louise Plummer-Alvernaz both pleaded not guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Great Falls to the charges of theft and wire fraud.

Funk was the Administrative Assistant for the Montana Native Women's Coalition and the Administrative Advocate for the Women's Resource Center.

Plummer-Alvernaz was the Executive Director for the Montana Native Women's Coalition and the Women's Resource Center.

Both organizations are located in Glasgow.

The Coalition is described on its Facebook page as an organization that unites the state’s seven tribes to reach the common goal of ending domestic and sexual violence within the Indian Nations and the State of Montana.

Both programs are federally funded and receive more than $10,000 in grants.

According to the indictments filed in November, the women reported inflated work hours, double-billed the agency for travel and took other benefits from the Coalition.

Prosecutors allege that Funk and Plummer-Alvernaz each embezzled at least $5,000 from their employer between 2011 and 2015.

Over that time period, the programs received more than $1.6 million in federal funding.

The charges include forfeiture demands of money from both women in the amount of $160,000 from Plummer-Alvernaz and $30,000 from Funk.

Neither woman was in federal custody on Wednesday. 

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