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.