Feds Find Mid-Central Non Profits Overcharged Native Schools

Dec 14, 2017

Credit Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Federal investigators say the South Dakota non-profits meant to dole out Gear Up funds fraudulently charged Native American schools for several years.
 
The federal investigation is ended, because the ones responsible are dead.
 
The US Office of Inspector General reports the non-profits set up under Mid-Central Educational Cooperative over billed two schools by more than $100,000.

The report says the companies also charged those schools for office rental, even though a tribal school provided space for free.
 
It’s the latest finding in the Gear-Up funds scandal that shook the state several years ago..
 
But the federal investigation stops there, because Scott and Nicole Westerhuis and their children are dead in what’s ruled to be a murder suicide. The US Inspector General report did not identify additional subjects.
 
The couple set up several non-profits meant to dole out a federal money to help Native American students enter post-secondary school.
 
The South Dakota Department of Education cancelled a contract with the company after a million dollars went missing.  Shortly after Scott Westerhuis took his wife and kids’ life, before setting their house on fire in a small town in eastern South Dakota.

State investigators have charged two others in the embezzlement scheme. Their trial is set for next summer.