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Jackley Files Charges Against Guericke, Hubers, Phelps; Says Westerhuises Stole Maybe Over $1M

We won’t be hanging GEAR UP on the dead guy. Attorney General Marty Jackley announced this morning in Platte that he has filed charges against and arrested Dan Guericke, Stephanie Hubers, and Stacy Phelps for criminal activity in the GEAR UP/Mid-Central Educational Cooperative scandal. The A.G. lists the following charges:

Daniel Mark Guericke, 58, White Lake, 2 counts of falsification of evidence, class 6 felony, punishable by up to 2 years imprisonment in the state penitentiary and/or $4,000 fine, 4 counts of conspiracy to offer forged or fraudulent evidence, class 5 felony, punishable as a Class 6 felony, with a maximum sentence of 2 years imprisonment and/or $4,000 fine.

Stephanie A. Hubers, 43, Geddes, 1 count of grand theft, class 4 felony, punishable by up to 10 years in the state penitentiary and/or $20,000 fine, 2 counts of grand theft by deception, class 4 felony, punishable by up to 10 years in the state penitentiary and/or $20,000 fine, 3 alternative counts of receiving stolen property, class 4 felony, punishable by up to 10 years in the state penitentiary and/or $20,000 fine,

Stacy Lee Phelps, 42, Rapid City, 2 counts of falsification of evidence, class 6 felony, punishable by up to 2 years imprisonment and/or $4,000 fine, 2 counts of conspiracy to offer forged or fraudulent evidence, class 5 felony, punishable as a Class 6 felony,  with a maximum sentence of 2 years imprisonment and/or $4,000 fine [Attorney General’s Office, press release, 2016.03.16].

Information in the probable cause affidavits indicate that former Mid-Central business manager Scott Westerhuis and assistant business manager Nicole Westerhuis stole hundreds of thousands and perhaps over a million dollars from Mid-Central. They died along with their children in a gruesome murder-suicide-arson in the early hours of September 17, 2015, the day after the state canceled the cooperative’s GEAR UP contract.

You can read the full charges and probable cause affidavits detailing the alleged crimes here:

A.G. Jackley told the audience at his Platte news conference that the charges announced today are initial charges. He says that more charges relating to GEAR UP and Mid-Central are possible.


  1. Jenny 2016-03-16 11:12

    As always, thanks for being right on top of SD news, Cory! I’m glad to see these crooks being charged.

  2. Greg 2016-03-16 12:08

    Prosecute them and put them in prison where they belong. Time to make a statement!

  3. Craig 2016-03-16 12:09

    I’m glad to see this story isn’t being ignored and that the investigation didn’t just end with all the blame being shifted to the dead guy.

    Perhaps this will allow people to acknowledge that Jackley is actually capable of doing his job in a non-partisan manner? Of course I’m sure some will see some political motivation here… because an AG who gets to the bottom of corruption and misuse of taxpayer dollars certainly has some bragging room in a potential campaign.

    Either way it seems like this is the right thing to do – investigate and file charges when appropriate. The story isn’t over yet – stock up on popcorn.

  4. mike from iowa 2016-03-16 12:19

    Jackley has had enough time to make plea deals with all the defendants. Maybe they will all finger Benda and get off scot free.

  5. mike from iowa 2016-03-16 12:22

    Wonder if they will file against Westerhuis estate and try to reclaim some of the missing money. Seems the least they could do.

  6. Craig 2016-03-16 12:32

    mfi – I believe Mid-Central has already started down that road. So yes it will be coming.

  7. Michael Wyland 2016-03-16 13:56

    Remember that Jackley said these are the initial charges and defendants. There are other potential defendants in SD GEAR UP, and there are/were other programs (besides SD GEAR UP) administered by the same players.

    Also, these are initial criminal charges only; civil charges could still be filed by the state.

    The feds are still investigating and operate on their own secret timeline. Who knows how long they’ll work or how many people, organizations, and programs they’ll look at.

  8. Bill Dithmer 2016-03-16 14:25

    Governor Jacklow just solidified his bid for the office.

    The Blindman

  9. 96Tears 2016-03-16 14:39

    Not so fast, Bill. Jackley still has a much bigger mess to clean up with Joop Bollen and his pals in the Board of Regents and the Rounds/Daugaard administrations. This is chicken feed compared to the much larger, older racketeering scam brought to you by current U.S. Senator Marion Rounds.

  10. 96Tears 2016-03-16 15:10

    “Having said that” … good shootin’ Marty. It’s the first real sign from you of a proper Attorney General, except why did you wait until the Legislature left town before you lowered the boom?

    I hope you’re not letting the Protected Class Members associated with profiteering off the hook as they, too, fed out of the same trough. So far it looks like you’ve netted the small fry and the dead guy.

  11. Roger Cornelius 2016-03-16 15:12

    Good move on the indictments and potential arrests.
    Now let’s see if Jackley gives them more than a slap on the wrist.

  12. Rorschach 2016-03-16 15:18

    I have to admit I was wrong on this one. I had come to believe that my friend Marty would do nothing more than just blame the dead guy and move on. Happy to see that this is being taken more seriously and dealt with more promptly than the Joopster’s shenanigans – which were known to the AG’s office from the day Marty was appointed. Marty will carry a lot of baggage into the Governor race or congressional race, but this matter won’t be another albatross. Credit where credit is due. Good work on this one.

  13. 96Tears 2016-03-16 15:59

    Et tu, Daugaard? Is Schopp on the chop block now that felony indictments are littering the programs she approved? Or are you still circling the wagons?

  14. Michael Wyland 2016-03-16 16:00

    I’d be inclined to take that bet, for at least two reasons. First, Jackley’s running for governor and has already made his role in investigating all this very public. Second, the federal investigation and the legislative investigation (SD Auditor General reports to the legislature) are still out there.

    My bet is that any plea deals will include naming others higher up the food chain and/or further away from Platte and Pierre.

  15. grudznick 2016-03-16 16:09

    Mighty good to see you back, Lar. I won $20 myself on a side bet about your contrite return so I’d put that down. On a bet that Ms. Melody and her minions won’t get charges.

  16. Rorschach 2016-03-16 16:10

    The governor is already playing this off as though these criminal defendants pulled a fast one on poor Melody Schopp, and she’s a victim too. Problem with that tale is that the paperwork submitted by her department seeking a waiver from the federal rules said that her department would assign oversight staff for the grant program, and what the SDDOE did bore very little resemblance to what it told the feds it would do. She was completely derelict in her oversight duties & should get the ax. Imagine the field day the GOP party would be having if she were serving a Democratic governor and performed this poorly.

  17. Rorschach 2016-03-16 16:21

    Former Secretary of State Jason Gant is from down around where all of this happened. I wonder if he found a way to cash in as a consultant on some of this stuff?

  18. leslie 2016-03-16 17:11

    Sad Stacey wasted a wonderful rep. all we have are two guys covering up evidence–(same as most of SDGOP in EB5) and a fill-in mgr who apparently stole something. so far. not too confident w/ jackley given political side stepping in EB5.

  19. Michael Wyland 2016-03-16 17:24

    OK, folks – it’s *really important* to read the legal filings Jackley submitted. I’m reading Stephanie Hubers’ interviews now, and I’m learning a lot.

    It’s easy to have off-the-cuff opinions, but facts cause people to pay attention.

  20. leslie 2016-03-16 17:33

    it is not necessary to have to scrutinize legal pleadings in order to have confidence our atty general is doing his job. once burned, twice shy….

  21. Bill Dithmer 2016-03-16 17:36

    96 Tears, thats old business that Marty wouldnt dare to touch. You’ll have to wait for the feds to clean that up. All Marty had to do was show his competence one time, this was it, without tipping the cart, and the election is his.

    The Blindman

  22. MOSES 2016-03-16 17:57

    What does the secretary of State do now. Anyone Two years is a slap on the hand should they not have to pay restitutuion.

  23. grudznick 2016-03-16 19:29

    Mr. H usually blogs before the details are all public because people want faster information, Mr. Wyland. You can read away but you should blog here about your findings. What did you find? Don’t just tease us with hints that Ms. Melody could be indicted.

  24. MOSES 2016-03-16 19:34

    C.H. other news the rednecks dont want a up or down vote on selecting a judge.

  25. Roger Cornelius 2016-03-16 19:40

    If you take a moment and quit talking you’ll find that Cory did post the information you are looking for.
    Just follow the links.

  26. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-03-16 19:40

    I’m with you, Michael: the court documents are essential reading. Stephanie Hubers’s statements are worth multiple blog posts. See my latest post:

    Roger’s exactly right, Grudz: I reported what Jackley said, then posted the court documents so everyone could see for themselves the basis for these initial chrages.

    Initial, said Jackley, as in, more to come.

  27. tim 2016-03-16 19:48

    Not to be overly conspiratorial, but…: isn’t the scenario of the Westerhuis family being murdered to stop all the audit/investigation action even more plausible now that more details of the scheme are out?
    Is it more plausible that Westerhuis with this lovely family shot them all with a shotgun (imagine the logistics of doing that) then himself after setting the house on fire to avoid the shame of the crimes he committed…grand theft, fraud…? few years in the clink…
    ….or that others in on the scheme offed them all burning the house to destroy all evidence of them….??
    Aren’t there still millions not accounted for? if this was going on for 10 years, how much might be missing??
    In those last hours as news of the state pulling the grant…did Westerhuis take the “if I’m going down, so are you,” tack that maybe incited retaliation??
    This could be the kind of money people kill people over…no?

  28. Clyde 2016-03-16 20:10

    So the secretary (asst business manager) is facing multiple felony charges for taking $55,000 but Melmer and Moore who made $100,000 s dollars between them for bogus work, no charges? Wake up South Dakota!

  29. 96Tears 2016-03-16 20:31

    Bill – With all due respect … but Joop Bollen, Mike Rounds and the gang remain at large. Joop still has the money and continues to do business in what should have been declared an illegal transaction by the Attorney General. Tick tock. Days, weeks, months and years go by and while Jackley was eager to slap felonies on Richard Benda, he hasn’t done squat about a crime that remains unresolved … unless his choice to nothing is defined as action. Justice delayed is justice denied.

    Now, having said that, maybe Jackley will pull the rabbit out of the hat right before filing date 2018, kinda like Obama knocking off bin Laden in front of the 2014 re-election. That would be impressive, but he’d really have to rock the political power clique to indict more than the dead guy instead of the guy who illegally took a state agency and turned it into his own private business. Or did he shut it down and return an estimated $120 million?

  30. Francis Schaffer 2016-03-16 20:34

    Does the emailing aspect of the fraudulent documents bring any Federal laws into play?

  31. mike from iowa 2016-03-16 20:46

    Wasn’t the grant money federal? Not only should the state be barred from EB-5 monies,but federal grant monies should be forbidden as well.

  32. mike from iowa 2016-03-16 20:50

    From what O gathered,Hubers is charged with stealing and because she stole,she is also being charged with having stolen property in her possession. Huh?

  33. Douglas Wiken 2016-03-17 10:29

    Forget the prison revenge. Get the money back and use it for the intended purpose instead of lining pockets of GOP sycophants.

  34. mike from iowa 2016-03-17 11:24

    Maybe that will bring those four innocent kids-victims-back to life.

  35. Roger Elgersma 2016-03-17 17:27

    How many people have to die before the government does its job. Well they finally woke up and realized that gag laws do not make people responsible. The governor decided to do more investigating and supervising of government contracts and they might even find out that when the public sees that they will do their job that there will be more confidence in government. Now we need to get rid of the gag law so that the state employees will realize that they do not get a free ride from their colleuges when they screw up.

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