October 24, 2014

Former Ho-Chunk leader gets prison time

A former leader of the Ho-Chunk Nation will spend five years in federal prison for his role in a bribery scheme. The U.S. Attorney’s office says 53-year-old Clarence Pettibone of Black River Falls, a former elected legislator of the Ho-Chunk Nation, received the sentence Wednesday. Pettibone pleaded guilty in April to taking bribes between 2002 and 2009 in a scheme tied to contracts awarded by the Ho-Chunk Nation.

John Vaudreuil, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, says that Pettibone was a knowing participant in the scheme. Vaudreuil had argued that prison time was needed to show that “official corruption damages a society by eroding the very foundation of a government.”

In handing down the sentence, Judge William Conley called Pettibone “a corrupt, not just corrupted, official” who took multiple bribes. Conley says Pettibone violated the trust of the Ho-Chunk Nation and his sentence should “send a message that corruption will not be tolerated, excused, or unpunished.”