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MADISON, WIS. – Timothy M. O’Shea, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Duane Emery, 65, Webster, Wisconsin, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge William M. Conley to one year and one day in federal prison for wire fraud. Emery pleaded guilty to this charge on October 17, 2023.

Between 2015 and 2019, Emery stole over $150,000 from the St. Croix Chippewa Housing Authority, an agency of the St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin. This agency is responsible for providing and maintaining housing for low-income tribal members. The Housing Authority receives more than $1 million each year in grant funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Emery served as the director for the Housing Authority from 2011 until his termination in 2019.

Emery used his position to obtain checks drawn on Housing Authority funds under the pretense that the checks were needed to make payments on a credit card maintained by the Housing Authority. Emery would instead apply the checks to his personal credit card. Emery also obtained checks drawn on Housing Authority funds to make payments on a timeshare property in Florida, and to pay for service on his personal vehicles. 

At sentencing, Judge Conley stated that Emery’s sustained criminal embezzlement warranted a period of imprisonment. Judge Conley also took into consideration the length of time Emery stole form the tribe, and the fact that his lack of supervision allowed other employees to steal. 

The charge against Emery was the result of an investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Inspector General. Assistant U.S. Attorney Taylor L. Kraus prosecuted this case.