facebook app symbol  twitter  linkedin  instagram 1

Former Oglala Sioux Tribe President Julian Bear Runner pleaded not guilty to eight counts of wire fraud, larceny, embezzlement and theft in a federal court hearing on Friday. 

Bear Runner, 37, is accused of stealing $80,000 from the Tribe during the time he served as its president. He appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Daneta Wollman in Rapid City, S.D. on February 24, 2023, following an indictment last fall on six counts of wire fraud, one court of larceny and one count of embezzlement and theft from an Indian Tribal organization, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice.  

During the one-year period between January 2019 through January 2020, Bear Runner allegedly scheduled official travel and received checks for airline flights, hotels and food despite the fact he was not traveling, according to court documents.  

“Despite knowing he had not traveled and that he was not entitled to the travel funds, Bear Runner fraudulently submitted vouchers claiming he was going to travel and was entitled to travel funds. Bear Runner would then take the travel checks and would use the embezzled funds for his own personal use, including cashing the checks and spending the funds at the Prairie Wind Casino on the Pine Ridge Reservation,” the indictment alleges.  

If convicted, Bear Runner could face a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in custody and/or a $250,000 fine, three years of supervised release, and $100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund. Restitution may also be ordered.

Never miss Indian Country’s biggest stories and breaking news. Sign up to get our reporting sent straight to your inbox every weekday morning. 

A trial date has been scheduled for May 2, 2023.

Bear Runner served as president of the Oglala Sioux from 2018 to 2020.  When he was elected, he was the second-youngest person ever elected as the Tribe’s president.  He lost re-election in 2020 to former state senator Kevin Killer.

More Stories Like This

FCC Chairwoman Proposes New "Missing and Endangered Persons" Emergency Alert Code
California MMIP Summit Convenes Tribal Leaders to Address Epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Peoples
US Presidents in Their Own Words Concerning American Indians
Native News Weekly (February 18, 2024): D.C. Briefs
Remarks by US Treasurer Chief Lynn Malerba at the National Congress of American Indians

Native Perspective.  Native Voices.  Native News. 

We launched Native News Online because the mainstream media often overlooks news that is important is Native people. We believe that everyone in Indian Country deserves equal access to news and commentary pertaining to them, their relatives and their communities. That's why the story you’ve just finished was free — and we want to keep it that way, for all readers.  We hope you'll consider making a donation to support our efforts so that we can continue publishing more stories that make a difference to Native people, whether they live on or off the reservation. Your donation will help us keep producing quality journalism and elevating Indigenous voices. Any contribution of any amount — big or small — gives us a better, stronger future and allows us to remain a force for change. Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous-centered journalism. Thank you.

About The Author
Native News Online Staff
Author: Native News Online StaffEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Native News Online is one of the most-read publications covering Indian Country and the news that matters to American Indians, Alaska Natives and other Indigenous people. Reach out to us at [email protected].