BEMIDJI, Minn. — Beltrami County officials on Wednesday, March 4, announced theft charges against William Blackwell Jr. of Bemidji for actions during his tenure as treasurer of the Minnesota Indian Education Association. Blackwell is also the former director of the American Indian Resource Center at BSU, a position he resigned from in August 2019
Beltrami County Attorney David Hanson issued a release Wednesday, saying Blackwell may have embezzled as much as $140,000 from the MIEA while he was treasurer from December 2016 to June 2019.
The Bemidji Police Department started its investigation on Sept. 5 after being contacted by officials from the MIEA.
Blackwell is being charged with a single count of theft and embezzlement of public funds for a scheme involving nearly $140,000 of fraudulent payments to himself, the release said. The felony charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years and/or $100,000.
Police investigators were able to examine records from the MIEA that indicated Blackwell would frequently make withdrawals in small amounts, however, the total theft discovered amounted to approximately $138,579. Ultimately, Blackwell was confronted about the theft and admitted to making frequent cash withdrawals; he estimated the total was up to $80,000, the release said.
More Stories Like ThisMMIP Red Dress Installation Vandalized in Alaska
NCAI Mid Year Underway on Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Homelands
Native News Weekly (June 3, 2023): D.C. Briefs
House Passes Bipartisan Debt Ceiling Deal; How Native American Members of Congress Voted
History Made as First Navajo Appointed U.S. Federal Judge in California
Native News is free to read.
We hope you enjoyed the story you've just read. For the past dozen years, we’ve covered the most important news stories that are usually overlooked by other media. From the protests at Standing Rock and the rise of the American Indian Movement (AIM), to the ongoing epidemic of Murdered and Missing Indigenous People (MMIP) and the past-due reckoning related to assimilation, cultural genocide and Indian Boarding Schools.
Our news is free for everyone to read, but it is not free to produce. That’s why we’re asking you to make a donation to help support our efforts. Any contribution — big or small — helps. Most readers donate between $10 and $25 to help us cover the costs of salaries, travel and maintaining our digital platforms. If you’re in a position to do so, we ask you to consider making a recurring donation of $12 per month to join the Founder's Circle. All donations help us remain a force for change in Indian Country and tell the stories that are so often ignored, erased or overlooked.
Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you.