Aug. 19 Regional News Briefs

Monday, August 19, 2019

Montana woman gets prison time for embezzling from clients

MISSOULA (AP) — A Montana woman who pleaded guilty to embezzling from clients of her money management business has been sentenced to nine months in prison and was ordered to pay $186,000 in restitution. U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen sentenced 78-year-old Ellen Van Ausdol of Bozeman Friday for taking over $250,000 from clients of Fiduciary Consulting and Management over a six-year period. She admitted using most of the money to pay gambling debts. People with developmental disabilities or who were otherwise unable to manage their own finances were court-appointed to have their money managed by Van Ausdol. She was a former Gallatin County District Court clerk. Court records say she repaid nearly $120,000 to clients in 2016, leaving about $133,000 in restitution remaining. She also owes the IRS nearly $53,000 for not paying income taxes on the stolen money.

Fewer grizzly bears were euthanized at Yellowstone this year

POWELL, Wyo. (AP) — Wildlife officials say fewer grizzly bears have been euthanized this year in Yellowstone National Park compared to previous years. The Powell Tribune reported Thursday that the U.S. Geological Survey reported nine grizzlies were euthanized in Wyoming this year, but the number could increase before the bears go into hibernation in December. Officials say the Wyoming Game and Fish Department killed a record-high 32 grizzly bears in 2018, including 17 by mid-August last year. Officials say grizzly bears are euthanized to manage conflicts at the park that spans across Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. Wildlife officials say three bears have also died in automobile collisions, two of them in Montana. Officials say they encourage people in the region to carry some type of defense in case of an encounter.

Former Anaconda basketball player pleads guilty to rape

HAMILTON (AP) — A former Anaconda High School basketball player has admitted raping a 14-year-old girl while attending a basketball tournament in Hamilton. The player, who was 17 at the time of the February 2017 rape, was initially charged in adult court, but entered his plea Thursday in juvenile court. The Ravalli Republic reports the recommended sentence is 14 days in jail and a probationary term until he is

25. If he meets the probationary terms, his juvenile record could be sealed. Ravalli County Attorney Bill Fulbright says if he breaks the conditions, he would face a five-year adult sentence with the Department of Corrections. Court records say two Anaconda players pressured the girl into having sex in the motel where the team was staying. The case against the second defendant is not settled.

5 killed in Roosevelt County crashes in 2 days

BILLINGS (AP) — Five people were killed in three recent crashes in Roosevelt County in northeastern Montana. The Montana Highway Patrol says a train struck a commercial truck east of Culbertson shortly after 5 p.m. Saturday, killing two men, ages 18 and 21, in the truck. The patrol tells The Billings Gazette the truck was believed to be carrying filters used in oil fields to a nearby dump site. Trooper David Moon says a hazardous materials team was called to clean up the filters, which posed a low radioactive hazard. Troopers say a 22-year-old Poplar man died in a rollover crash near Poplar at 4:30 a.m. Saturday. The Great Falls Tribune reports two Brockton women, ages 41 and 50, died Friday afternoon when their SUV swerved off the road near Culbertson to avoid oncoming traffic as they tried to pass another vehicle.

Victims of Montana plane crash identified

GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) — Two men from Wyoming were the victims of a deadly plane crash in northeast Montana. The single-engine Cessna caught fire and crashed at its destination outside Wolf Point, Mont., on Aug. 5. Roosevelt County, Montana, officials on Thursday identified the victims as James D. Heald, of Recluse, and Benjamin Robert Casey, of Gillette. The bodies of the men were found after the fire was extinguished. Services for the two took place earlier in the week. The Gillette News-Record reports the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash.

Montana man gets 80 years in prison for knife attack

HELENA (AP) — A judge has sentenced a Montana man to 80 years in prison without the possibility of parole for a stabbing outside a bar. The Helena Independent Republic reports the attack happened outside Jesters Bar in 2017. Andrew Pierce Lake stabbed the victim seven times before going home, getting rid of the knife and leaving his bloody clothes in his living room. A jury convicted Lake in 2018 of attempted deliberate homicide. Besides sentencing Lake to prison Wednesday, District Judge Michael McMahon ordered Lake to pay $77,000 in restitution for the victim’s medical bills. Lake told investigators he didn’t remember the attack. His attorney, Mariah Eastman, argued in court the victim had followed Lake and grabbed him, causing him to react defensively. Eastman couldn’t be reached for comment Saturday.