BILLINGS – U.S. government officials say the Fort Peck tribes owe $435,000 after mismanaging grant money meant to help poor people pay for their home energy use.
The Billings Gazette reports the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ inspector general found that the tribal government gave money to ineligible people and did not refund unused money.
The inspector general’s audit report says the northeastern Montana tribes lacked policies, procedures and internal controls that would have avoided the errors.
The Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux tribes dispute most of the findings, though they did acknowledge paying $30,261 to ineligible beneficiaries.
Tribal officials said in their response that they are implementing new policies and procedures.
The audit covered the years 2011 through 2015, when the Fort Peck tribes were awarded $4.1 million in Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program funds.