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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of South Dakota

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Waubay Woman Sentenced for Federal Program Theft

Defendant Prosecuted as Part of The Guardians Project, a Federal Law Enforcement Initiative to Combat Corruption, Fraud, and Abuse in South Dakota

Acting United States Attorney Dennis R. Holmes announced today that a Waubay, South Dakota, woman convicted of Federal Program Theft was sentenced on May 4, 2021, by Chief Judge Roberto A. Lange, U.S. District Court.

Dawn Block, age 53, was sentenced to 27 months in federal prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release, and restitution in the amount of $222,801.72, with $68,569.78 being paid to the U.S. Department of Labor, and $154,231.95 being paid to the governing entities that formerly comprised the United Sioux Tribes of South Dakota Development Corporation (USTDC). 

Between October 2018 and May 2019, while she was employed as an agent of USTDC, Block did embezzle, steal, obtain by fraud, and intentionally misapply property of USTDC, an organization receiving Federal funds, and intentionally misapplied property worth at least $5,000, by way of payroll advances, cash withdrawals, awards and bonuses, duplicate pay, and additional unsupported payments.

The case was brought as part of The Guardians Project, a federal law enforcement initiative to coordinate efforts between participating agencies, to promote citizen disclosure of public corruption, fraud, and embezzlement involving federal program funds, contracts, and grants, and to hold accountable those who are responsible for adversely affecting those living in South Dakota’s Indian country communities.  The Guardians Project is another step of federal law enforcement’s on-going efforts to increase engagement, coordination, and positive action on behalf of tribal communities.  Led by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the participating agencies include:  Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Offices of Inspector General for the Departments of Interior, Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration, Agriculture, Transportation, Education, Justice, and Housing and Urban Development; Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division; U.S. Postal Inspector Service; U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General.

For additional information about The Guardians Project, please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office at (605) 330-4400.  To report a suspected crime, please contact law enforcement at the federal agency’s locally listed telephone number.

The investigation was conducted by Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael J. Elmore prosecuted the case.

Block was released following sentencing but was ordered to self-report to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service on May 18, 2021.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Component(s): 
Updated May 5, 2021