Former tribal chief sentenced for embezzling over $100,000

A former Healy Lake Tribe first chief and administrator will spend up to 90 days on house arrest as part of her sentence for embezzling more than $100,000 in federal and tribal funds.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Friday that JoAnn Polston has also been sentenced to three years of probation. She was ordered to pay the Bureau of Indian Affairs more than $4,500 and the Healy Lake Tribe nearly $103,000 in restitution.

Between 2009 and 2013, Polston transferred money into her own bank account, took per diem payments she was not entitled to, and paid herself more than her salary without backup documentation.

U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Beistline told Polston that her conduct put Native and rural communities in jeopardy.

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