Former AIRC Executive Director Charged With Theft of Minnesota Indian Education Association Funds
The former treasurer of the Minnesota Indian Education Association has been charged with a single count of theft and embezzlement of public funds.
Beltrami County Attorney David Hanson issued a release Wednesday saying that 44-year-old William Joseph Blackwell of Bemidji is accused of embezzling public funds.
Blackwell is said to have embezzled $140,000 from the MIEA while he was treasurer from 2016 to 2019.
According to the criminal complaint, a complainant informed an investigator that Blackwell embezzled a “significant amount of money from MIEA by writing checks to himself.”
The complaint said Blackwell told a detective on the case that he became treasurer in the fall of 2015 and admitted that in the spring of 2016, he began taking cash withdrawals from the MIEA’s bank account, which he estimated to be between $50,000 and $80,000.
The detective reviewed financial documents and found that the data shows a total of $138,579 has been taken out of the MIEA’s bank account by Blackwell between 2016 and 2019.
Blackwell is also the former executive director of the American Indian Resource Center’s at Bemidji State University. He resigned in August 2019.