Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Murder-suicide: Couple embezzled almost $1 million


A couple killed in a Platte murder-suicide embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from an educational cooperative they both worked for, including federal funds aimed at helping the South Dakota American Indian students prepare for college.

Attorney General Marty Jackley at a press conference Wednesday said Scott and Nicole Westerhuis funneled as much as $1 million from Mid-Central Educational Cooperative to a group they created, American Indian Innovation Institute (AIII), to subsidize the group's payroll.

The announcement came almost six months to the day after Scott Westerhuis killed his wife, Nicole, and the couple's four children, Kailey, Jaeci, Connor and Michael, before taking his own life. The deaths came hours after South Dakota Secretary of Education Melody Schopp called the Westerhuis' employer, Mid-Central Education Cooperative, to notify its director that the group had lost a $4.3 million contract for administering the state's Gear Up program.


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