MADISON, WI—John W. Vaudreuil, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Clarence Pettibone, 53, Black River Falls, Wisconsin, a former elected legislator of the Ho-Chunk Nation, was sentenced today by U.S. District Chief Judge William M. Conley to five years in federal prison for his role in a bribery scheme involving contracts awarded by the Ho-Chunk Nation. Pettibone pleaded guilty on April 10, 2012, to accepting a bribe.
The prosecutor argued that the bribery scheme, which ran from 2002 to 2009, generated $3,000,000 paid by clients from funds they received from the Ho-Chunk Nation, and that official corruption damages a society by eroding the very foundation of a government. The prosecutor also emphasized Pettibone’s knowing and extensive participation in this scheme.
In sentencing Pettibone to five years, Judge Conley said that Pettibone was “ a corrupt—not just corrupted—official” who took multiple bribes. Judge Conley found that Pettibone violated the trust of the rightly-proud Ho-Chunk Nation and that his sentence should “send a message that corruption will not be tolerated, excused, or unpunished.”
The charges against Pettibone were the result of an investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service. The prosecution of the case has been handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephen P. Sinnott and Laura Przybylinski Finn.