Alvernaz Sentenced, Local Agencies Credited
July 19, 2017
The United States Attorney's Office announced that Toni Louise Plummer-Alvernaz was sentenced to one year in prison, $246,024 in restitution and a $100 special assessment for her involvement in a long running embezzlement scheme involving two northeast Montana charities. The sentencing occurred on July 14, before U.S. District Chief Judge Dana Christensen in Great Falls.
Plummer had been the director for the Montana Native Women's Coalition and the Women's Resource Center in Glasgow. The organizations had received over $1.6 million in federal grant funds from the Department of Justice's Office on Violence Against Women during her tenure. She embezzled approximately 15 percent of the grants by inflating work hours, using the organization's credit cards for vacations to Mount Rushmore and California, claiming travel when no such travel occurred, cash advances, bonuses and paying family members money that they were not entitled to receive.
As a result of those federal funds, the case fell to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Attorney's Office to prosecute. The investigation was conducted by FBI Special Agents out of the Glasgow field office, with cooperation from local law enforcement agencies. A press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Great Falls stated, "The Plummer case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Justice - Office of Inspector General, and local law enforcement." Both Glasgow Chief of Police Bruce Barstad and Valley County Sheriff Verne Buerkle testified at the sentencing hearing.
The prosecuting attorney Ryan Weldon stated in a sentencing memo filed in court that, "Ms. Plummer chose to victimize victims yet again by stealing that money, which was meant for some of the most vulnerable individuals in the community." Weldon stated at sentencing that this type of crime, "tears at the moral fabric of the community."