A Billings water pipeline supply company paid a $350,000 fine as part of a plea deal on corruption charges last week.  Officials at MT Waterworks LLC admitted to criminal charges that it falsely claimed an Indian preference to get federal and tribal contracts, including more than $3.3 million from the Chippewa Cree Tribe for work on a federally funded water project in north central Montana.
U.S. District Court Judge Brian Morris of Great Falls followed a plea agreement during a sentencing hearing and imposed the fine last Thursday.  He dismissed an additional charge and three other counts in a separate indictment as part of the plea deal.  Former Rep.Tony Belcourt, a convicted tribal official, and Billings contractor Kevin McGovern falsely certified an Indian preference in contracts, then used that certification to block legitimate competition and secure a majority, if not a virtual monopoly on Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation business.

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