MN man gets prison time in Ho-Chunk Nation contracts case - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

MN man gets prison time in Ho-Chunk Nation contracts case

Madison (Press Release) - Brian Johnson, 42, of Shakopee, Minn., was sentenced Thursday to four months in federal prison for lying to federal agents investigating bribery and kickbacks in connection with contracts awarded by the Ho-Chunk Nation.

Johnson was formerly employed by Cash Systems, Inc., a company that did business with the Ho-Chunk Nation. Johnson's prison sentence is to be followed by two years of supervised release. In addition, the court imposed a $3,000 fine. Johnson pleaded guilty on March 29, 2012.

In sentencing Johnson, the court reduced his sentence from the range of 10 to 16 months based on his cooperation in the investigation.

In arriving at a four-month sentence, the court balanced Johnson's significant cooperation with the serious nature of his crimes and the need to deter others similarly situated from engaging in criminal conduct.

Three other defendants have been charged and convicted in the investigation:Clarence Pettibone, 53, of Black River Falls, a former elected legislator of the Ho-Chunk Nation, pleaded guilty on April 10, 2012, to accepting a bribe. On July 11, 2012, the court sentenced him to five years in federal prison for his role in the bribery scheme involving contracts awarded by the Ho-Chunk Nation.

Deborah Atherton, 55, of Black River Falls, pleaded guilty on July 9, 2012, to conspiracy to make a false loan application. She also stipulated to facts that will, if found by the court to constitute bribery, be used to determine her sentence. She is scheduled to be sentenced on October 10, 2012.

Following a jury trial, Timothy Whiteagle, 60, of Black River Falls, was convicted on August 1, 2012 of all 12 counts of the indictment, including charges of conspiracy, bribery, obstruction of justice, and filing false tax returns. He is scheduled to be sentenced on October 24, 2012.

The charges were the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and IRS Criminal Investigation. The prosecution of this case has been handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephen P. Sinnott and Laura Przybylinski Finn.

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