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Press Release

Veblin Woman Pleads Guilty in Federal Court to Mail Fraud Involving Head Start Program

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of South Dakota

United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that Renee K. Olson, age 57, of Veblin, South Dakota, appeared before U.S. Magistrate William D. Gerdes on February 7, 2020, and pled guilty to an Information that charged her with Mail Fraud. 

According to court documents, Olson served as the Treasurer of the Region VIII Head Start Association.  In September 2014 and continuing to June 2018, Olson devised and intended to devise a scheme and artifice to defraud the Region VIII Head Start Association of money and property, and obtained money and property from the Region VIII Head Start Association by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, omissions, and promises.  In her working capacity, Olson sent out invoices to members of the Title VIII Region, who then paid those invoices and sent those payments to Olson.  Upon receipt, Olson converted those payments and used that money for personal expenses.  The money was intended to be used to train members of Region VIII Head Start.  Instead, Olson deposited those checks into her personal bank account.  For the purpose of carrying out and executing the scheme to defraud, and in furtherance of the scheme and artifice to defraud, Defendant knowingly caused the items to be placed in an authorized depository for mail matter. 

Mail Fraud carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine, and a period of supervised release of 3 years.  There is also a $100.00 assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.  Restitution will also be ordered.

The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeremy Jehangiri.

A presentence investigation was ordered and a sentencing date of June 9, 2020, has been set.  The defendant was released on bond pending sentencing.

Updated February 9, 2020