PIERRE, S.D. — A new audit report shows that a now-dead couple who helped administer South Dakota’s GEAR UP college-readiness program made unauthorized withdrawals totaling more than $7.8 million from the Platte-based educational cooperative where they worked.

The Department of Legislative Audit report released Friday says much of the money was returned, but roughly $1.4 million remained missing after their deaths in 2015.

Scott Westerhuis that year shot his wife and their four children, then set fire to their home and killed himself. Authorities have said they believe the couple stole more than $1 million before their deaths.

The new details about how much they received through Mid-Central Educational Cooperative are part of a special review of the organization. Many issues identified in the audit had been raised previously.

Three people face charges in connection with the couple’s scheme.

SHARE
Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.