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FBI Started Investigating Benda and EB-5 in May 2012

KELO-TV gets the FBI to respond to a Freedom of Information Act request for its files on Richard Benda, South Dakota’s EB-5 scapegoat who killed himself in October 2013. It appears the only notable information KELO-TV is able to pull from the heavily redacted 87 pages sent out of 500 in the file is that the FBI started investigated Benda in May 2012.

What was happening in May 2012? Northern Beef Packers, the Aberdeen beef plant that played David Copperfield with millions of dollars in EB-5 visa investment money, was years behind schedule and had millions in unpaid bills and liens. Meanwhile, EB-5 czar Joop Bollen was playing the shell games with the EB-5 money he was managing for the state that landed him mostly harmlessly in court with Marty Jackley five years later.

Angela Kennecke gets nothing out of the locals who got things rolling with Northern Beef Packers:

One document released to KELOLAND investigates contains a little more information, but it’s not put into any kind of context:

It’s a June 2013 interview conducted by Jim Flannigan, an investigator with the U.S. Attorney’s office at the time and FBI agent Ted Miller.

They were talking to Dennis Hellwig and Norg Sanderson, two Aberdeen businessmen who started the beef processing plant.

KELOLAND News spoke with Sanderson on the phone Wednesday who told us the interview was about the state taking over the plant.

Sanderson told the agents, “They (the state) couldn’t figure out a beef plant if you asked them.”

Sanderson also told agents, “This is political, it’s all political, it’s got nothing to do with money.”

When we asked Sanderson what he meant by that, he said the state of South Dakota taking over the plant was simply political and he had nothing else to tell us about that FBI interview.

Flanigan asked Sanderson, “Did you have any specific conversations with Benda about this stuff.” Sanderson answered, “No” [Angela Kennecke, “Richard Benda’s FBI File Lays out Timeline of Investigation into ‘Public Corruption’,” KELO-TV, 2018.05.16].

We thus know a bit more about when the FBI got interested, but we know nothing new about the web of corruption that engulfed Benda and wrecked South Dakota’s EB-5 program.


  1. jerry 2018-05-17 09:09

    Wow, 413 redacted pages on Benda and the EB5…Must be National Security risks, who knew that we lived in such a place teeming with spies and so much intrigue…The early Red Wave that Jackley is so proud of perhaps? Chinese and now the Russians, we are ground zero but safe from Kim’s rockets as that would be bad for his business.

  2. Roger Cornelius 2018-05-17 10:23

    This is the attachment for the email I sent you yesterday. I should of known you would be on top of the story.

  3. marvin kammerer 2018-05-17 10:35

    a number of questions come to my mind about the EB5 issue.i hold those who aided & abetted investors through the federal government to bring these funds to SD.their aids running their offices in SD.should be responsible to keep track of these monies, that includes sen THUNE & rep NOEM as well as then sen JONHSON & damn sure now sen Rounds.they knew or should have kept track of these smells to high heaven . i also hold our attorney general,. Jackley ,equally responsible .let’s not forget that he was a US attorney,resigned & appointed by then GoV.Rounds as attorney general of more cover ups,we want answers.the deaths of Benda & the gearup people need answers.why did joop get off so lightly,& why didn’t our attorney general demand that joop produse the records he ran off with ?

  4. Loren 2018-05-17 11:07

    So it was “all political” and what did SD do? We sent the head politician, at the time, to THE SWAMP in D.C. Noting to see here, folks.

  5. leslie 2018-05-17 17:38

    fbi appears no more competent than sddci in these instances. joop, benda, regents, goac, doe and the slain family in Platte were able to outsmart the entire gop law enforcement system for years. nobody of any substance has been held accountable.

    and jackley thinks he can be a governor???

  6. Noelle 2018-05-17 20:45

    Having worked in the medical field for 24+ years, I Never even heard of anyone committing suicide by shooting themselves in the “stomach”! Sounds like an easy way to keep his “mouth shut”! Now Who would want him to not talk about what he was involved in??? It all sounds quite “fishy” Maybe South Dakota has it’s own “SWAMP”

  7. grudznick 2018-05-17 21:56

    There are probably people working on books about Mr. Joop and they will win awards.

  8. jerry 2018-05-18 02:22

    The redacted pages of the released report would clearly show that Rounds, Jackley and the rest of the hierarchy of the mafioso called South Dakota legislatures who dummy’ed up, got a payoff. There had to be a fall guy, and as any pirate knows, dead men tell no tales. Benda had to go. Bada boom. I think the FBI did a good job, such a good job that the Johnson kid quit the US Attorney job and politics, it seems, altogether. Someone prove me wrong. Anyone know why the US Marshall’s were on the scene so quickly? Me either…

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