Two people convicted of embezzling over $ 777.00 from Native American addiction and counseling center

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MADISON, Wisc. – Two former employees of a Native American addiction and counseling center were convicted in federal court in Wisconsin on Friday for embezzling more than 67% of funds intended for the program over a 10-year period.

Fredericka DeCoteau, 63, of Cloquet, Minnesota, was sentenced to 2 years in prison, and Edith Schmuck, 77, of Rice Lake, Wisc. received 1 year and 1 day in prison. The judge also ordered the defendants to jointly pay damages in the amount of $ 777,283. Both defendants were ordered to report to the Prisons Office on December 29 to begin their sentences.

They worked at Ain Dah Ing, which operated as a nonprofit halfway house in Spooner, Wisc. since 1971. DeCoteau worked as Managing Director at ADI from 2002 to 2017. Schmuck worked as an accountant from 1990 to 2017.

ADI provided mental health, alcoholism, and drug addiction services to Native Americans from the tribes of Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. ADI’s services included a 90-day program at its 15-bed community residential facility in Spooner, Wisc. ADI’s funding came from a federal commercial contract with the US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Division of Indian Health Services.

DeCoteau and Schmuck both pleaded guilty over the summer to embezzling ADI funds by paying themselves unauthorized bonuses via paychecks signed with a rubber signature stamp from the treasurer. from ADI. The hijacking lasted from 2007 to 2017.

In Friday’s sentencing, the judge noted that DeCoteau and Schmuck stole more than 67% of the total funds earmarked for ADI programming, and that they gambled most of that money in casinos. local Indians.

The charges against DeCoteau and Schmuck were the result of an investigation by the US Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of the Inspector General and the Spooner Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Daniel Graber handled the prosecution.

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