An appeals court has upheld a former Montana legislator's 7 ½-year prison sentence for his involvement in a corruption scheme on the Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation.

Tony Belcourt had sought a lighter sentence and a reduction of the $667,000 in restitution he must pay after pleading guilty in 2014 to taking kickbacks and bribes for awarding construction contracts.

A panel of judges from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Belcourt's request on Friday. The judges upheld a lower court's findings that Belcourt held a high-level position as head of the Chippewa Cree Construction Company and had power over important financial decisions that affected the tribe.

Belcourt was voted out of his state House seat in 2012. As CEO of the tribe's construction company, he awarded federal contracts for projects on the reservation.