Courtesy Nicole Westerhuis/Facebook
Scott Westerhuis allegedly killed his wife and their four children before setting fire to their house and killing himself.

Couple in Murder-Suicide Linked to Alleged Scam Embezzling Native Education Money


Six months after a South Dakota couple died in a murder-suicide, Attorney General Marty Jackley said they stole money meant to improve college readiness among Native American students.

“There has been a loss or a theft of over $1 million,” Jackley said during a March 16 press conference.

Scott Westerhuis allegedly killed his wife, Nicole, and their four children, Kailey, Jaeci, Connor and Michael, and then took his own life on September 17, 2015. Scott and Nicole both worked for Mid-Central Educational Cooperative, and the deaths happened only hours after the Department of Education informed Mid-Central that it would be losing a $4.3 million federal contract for GEAR UP, a program that helps prepare Native American students for college, due to financial problems and accounting issues.

Scott had served as the business manager at Mid-Central, and Nicole as assistant business manager, reports the Associated Press. Scott was also linked to nonprofits that received GEAR UP funding, including the American Indian Institute for Innovation.

Investigators say the couple spent the money on home improvements, among other things, the Associated Press reports.

Three others are also facing felony charges including Mid-Central’s director, Dan Guericke, and Stacy Phelps, the CEO of the American Indian Institute for Innovation. They have each been charged with six felony counts. Phelps and Guericke allegedly backdated contracts between Mid-Central and the American Indian Institute for Innovation with the intent of presenting them in an audit. Guericke is also accused of conspiring with Scott and Nicole to backdate contracts.

Stephanie Hubers, a former Mid-Central employee also faces felony charges related to receiving money from the Institute that she wasn’t entitled to, or that she knew was stolen.  She is also accused of falsifying invoices for services she did not provide.

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turbojesus's picture
Submitted by turbojesus on
Who would help these causes? Non-profit just means all the salaries are predetermined like they're doing things that other charities, universities, et cetera aren't doing. Looks like mid-central just killed them off and put the blame on the dead. Or maybe they just got some out of court justice, I'm sure eventually we can all expect a drone to silently kill us off since they are now allowed to do that to american citizens. Just like those navy destroyers have the autopilot attack mode that destroys any potential targets. We'll have the autopilot drones target potentially "anti-american" subjects.

smartphoenixnavajo's picture
Submitted by smartphoenixnavajo on
I worked at a university in Mesa, Arizona, that received hundreds of thousands of dollars of "Native Education Money". It was all a scam for many years, as the one and only person running the program was basically gone for years. Claimed to be working at home, when in fact, said person, even had another educational job at another local university in the Phoenix, Arizona area. Easily making six figures for years and doing basically nothing. The people who signed off on the hundreds of thousands of dollars, always looked the other way, or simply did not care. In the end and after more handoffs of responsibility, it all came to an end, via termination. Though no funds were ever recovered and no type of investigation was forthcoming via the academic higher ups nor the HR, it was the Native American students who lost out the most. All the hundreds of thousands of dollars wasted on one persons greed and life, or life of greed. It reminded me of my father saying when I was a boy. "Son, lots of people out there taking Indian money, but not doing a damn thing for Indians."