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Grand Jury Indicts Three People Related To GEAR UP

Kealey Bultena
Platte, SD / March 2016

A grand jury has indicted three people for felony crimes related to a Native American education program. State leaders say people within GEAR UP and Mid-Central Education Cooperative used the programs to steal more than one million dollars. Two of them died in a murder-suicide in September. Authorities announced charges against three other leaders last month.  

A Charles Mix County grand jury charges former Mid-Central Education Cooperative director Dan Guericke with six felony counts of falsification of evidence and conspiracy. The panel charges former GEAR UP leader Stacy Phelps with four felony counts of falsification of evidence and conspiracy. Officials say they altered contracts to protect against audits.

Dana Hanna is an attorney who represents Phelps.

"Stacy Phelps will enter a plea of not guilty to these charges, and we look forward to proving his innocence in a court of law," Hanna says.

Former Mid-Central assistant business manager Stephanie Hubers faces three felony theft charges and alternate charges of receiving stolen property.

South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley says the grand jury process ensures community members have an opportunity to hear witnesses and evidence to decide whether a case should move forward.

"As attorney general, I am working on making sure there is a fair trial, that the individuals involved in any wrongdoing are held accountable, and that the public’s trust in state programs is restored," Jackley says.

Jackley says everyone charged is innocent until proven guilty.

An arraignment for the three people charged was originally scheduled for May 2nd in Lake Andes. That is now happening at 1:30 p.m. on April 27th.

Kealey Bultena grew up in South Dakota, where her grandparents took advantage of the state’s agriculture at nap time, tricking her into car rides to “go see cows.” Rarely did she stay awake long enough to see the livestock, but now she writes stories about the animals – and the legislature and education and much more. Kealey worked in television for four years while attending the University of South Dakota. She started interning with South Dakota Public Broadcasting in September 2010 and accepted a position with television in 2011. Now Kealey is the radio news producer stationed in Sioux Falls. As a multi-media journalist, Kealey prides herself on the diversity of the stories she tells and the impact her work has on people across the state. Kealey is always searching for new ideas. Let her know of a great story! Find her on Facebook and twitter (@KealeySDPB).
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