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Forum staff reports, Published January 13 2012

Husband, wife admit to embezzling from tribal organization

FARGO – A husband and wife pleaded guilty in federal court to embezzling from a Spirit Lake tribal organization earlier this week.

William Kazena, 67, and Martina Kazena, 66, of Fort Totten, pleaded guilty on Wednesday before U.S. District Chief Judge Ralph R. Erickson to charges of conspiracy to embezzle from an Indian tribal organization and aiding and abetting.

Martina Kazena admitted that when she was director of the Spirit Lake Vocational Rehabilitation Program she approved program benefits to her husband, William, as well as others who were not otherwise entitled.

The Vocational Rehabilitation Program is a program administered by the Spirit Lake Tribe in Fort Totten.

Five others have been charged in the conspiracy and are scheduled for trial on March 13.

Both Kazenas face a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison for each charge.

Sentencing for the Kazenas is scheduled for April 10 at U.S. District Court in Fargo.