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Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin (formerly Wisconsin Winnebago Tribe)

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A woman convicted of cheating a 76-year-old Roman Catholic priest out of $27,000 by fabricating family stories lost a bid for a new trial. The Rev. Richard Korzinek testified he believed Marilyn Whiterabbit even though some of her stories were ``ridiculous." Whiterabbit, 44, of Wisconsin Dells, was convicted in Circuit Court in Portage on six felony counts of fraud and two misdemeanor counts of fraud. She was sentenced in July 1998 to 10 years in prison and 15 years probation. Whiterabbit appealed her conviction, arguing that six of the eight counts were not supported by the evidence. She did not dispute the other two counts. The 2nd District Court of Appeals in Waukesha upheld five of the six counts April 20 and overturned one misdemeanor count of theft by misrepresentation, saying the charge was too vague and could overlap the other charges. Whiterabbit took advantage of Korzinek's trusting nature to get him to give her loans, authorities said. In December 1996 she told him she needed money to take over land inherited from her grandmother, court records say. He gave her $9,000 with her assurance she would receive a grant from the tribe to establish a homestead. Whiterabbit later said the land went to her uncle. During the trial, her husband testified the uncle had died "a long time ago."