Attorney General Files Charges in Connection to GEAR UP Financial Investigation

I guess my question from back in November was answered today….

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Attorney General Files Charges in Connection to GEAR UP Financial Investigation
Marty Jackley

PIERRE, S.D.- Attorney General Marty Jackley announces that Complaints have been filed charging three individuals for their roles in the financial misconduct case surrounding the GEAR UP Program.

“There has been a tragic loss of a young family and financial decisions made affecting funding set aside for important purposes including Native American children. As Attorney General, I will continue to address what has happened with state, federal and local authorities and restore the public’s trust,” said Jackley.

The following have been charged:

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.

All defendants were given the opportunity to voluntarily turn themselves in on arrest warrants. They have cooperated and have been released by the Court on bond conditions. These individuals are presumed innocent until such time as proven guilty.

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13 thoughts on “Attorney General Files Charges in Connection to GEAR UP Financial Investigation

  1. Daniel Buresh

    Melody Schopp was aware of possible malfeasance years before the murders took place. Why does she still have a job? It will be interesting to see if Melmer and Moore eventually get charged. Sounds like they knew what was happening was completely wrong, but why didn’t they go to the police?

  2. Anonymous

    Melody Schopp was aware of possible malfeasance years before the murders took place. Why does she still have a job?

    When did Marty say that? Are you listening to the same news conference? I didn’t hear it.

        1. Daniel Buresh

          Continued financial incompetence over such a period of time shows administrative incompetence. That sort of thing wouldn’t happen for so long in the private sector due to liability issues. We should expect the same from our public leaders. In fact, the indication of such incompetence should incite an immediate audit of financials right when the first signs of such incompetence is noticed.

          1. Anonymous

            GEAR UP was a federal grant–why weren’t the feds maintaining oversight?

            According to your “logic” Daniel, Obama needs to resign.

            1. Daniel Buresh

              So you expect the state to hand-off their oversight of 3rd party contractors to the feds? Do you understand how our gov’t works? Considering you can’t even sign your name, I doubt it.

                1. Daniel Buresh

                  They were overseeing the state that was continuing to send in reports that everything was all fine and dandy. So, they were maintaining oversight of the entity that they had to watch, the state. The state’s failure to watch their contractors is where the fallout is. The feds aren’t going to get concerned unless they figure out the state is displaying a different perspective than what is actually happening, and when the feds realized the state of SD was, they cut the funds immediately. Next, you will whine when they go through all federal funds with a comb stating you want local control.

        2. Anonymous

          Incompetence? Lack of oversight? 2 weeks before the tragedy the ed department testified that everything was super duper. It dooesn’t add up.

  3. Anonymous

    Melmer and Moore should be charged! Not only did they knowingly take money they were not entitled too, which was proved in the audit. They have schemed and stole from many programs for many years. Start looking at all the cooperation’s of Slick Rick’s and the amount of state contracts they have received. Pays to have cronies in high places!!

  4. Michael Wyland

    Nothing says Melmer and Moore *won’t* be charged eventually. The charges the AG announced were *initial charges*, implying that additional charges and/or additional people might be cited later. In addition, the feds continue their investigation, so there is always the possibility of federal charges being filed.

    I have told people for months to not worry about how far *up* the scandal goes. rather, look at how far *out* it goes – how many grant-funded programs (yes, in addition to SD GEAR UP), people, organizations, companies, etc. are involved? The list is actually pretty long, based on publicly available information, almost all of which has been reported in the media. Once investigators see how far out it goes, the “how high up does it go?” question begins to answer itself.

    Focusing on Melody Schopp isn’t wrong, but it is shortsighted. SD GEAR UP was a problem before she became Secretary of Ed.; she just failed to clean it up despite serious indications of financial irregularities. [I won’t even talk about the programmatic failures, since no one else seems to care at this point.]

    Jackley mentioned that his decisions to bring criminal charges are, in part, influenced by the statute of limitations for the alleged offenses. Remember also there’s a lot that’s apparent, yet can’t be prosecuted, much less be used to secure a criminal conviction.

    Kudos to KELO-TV and Angela Kennecke for continuing to cover this story.

    One final point: regardless of what happened at MCEC, with its employees, contractors, consultants, and vendors, this to-date $60 million scandal (give or take a million or two – the value of the two SD GEAR UP grants) is the ultimate responsibility of the State of South Dakota, and the SD Department of Education specifically. I agree that the feds may well also share blame for the scandal, in that they accepted program reports and evaluation reports – submitted by the state – that are embarrassing to read.