Trial Of Stephanie Hubers: Loyal Employee or Thief?
During the second day in the trial of Stephanie Hubers verses the State of South Dakota on Tuesday (June 26), opening statements painted differing pictures of the staff member who worked for Scott Westerhuis of the Gear Up Program and Mid Central Educational Cooperative.
Attorney General Marty Jackley and his team depicted a tangled web of numerous bank accounts and over seven organizations where money flowed back and forth, often to the personal accounts of the late Scott and Nicole Westerhuis in excess of one million dollars. Jackley suggested Hubers not only was aware of the mishandling of funds, but enabled the funneling of money to the Westerhuis family.
Over $50,000 is alleged to have been illegally obtained by Hubers, instigating numerous charges of theft and receiving stolen property.
Defense Attorney Clint Sargent says Hubers was a dedicated employee who saw the increase in her income as a raise, stemming from additional work.
The first testimony came from South Dakota DCI agent John Barnes, one of several financial investigators. Twenty five exhibits submitted to the court documented the seven organizations or corporations formed by Scott Westerhuis, often including his wife Nicole and other "players" accord to Barnes.
Exhibit six documented the organization OSDEC, which was formed by Westerhuis in 2003, dissolved in 2007, but reinstated in 2008 with a document notarized by Hubers. The organization was dissolved again in 2015.
The web of organizations listed during the trial included Mid Central Educational Cooperative, which often sent funds to Rock Ranch, OSEC, Chita Corporation, Black Rock, AIII, OSDEC, and AIIIE. Each organization had various times of being formed and dissolved, while some were in good standing at the time of the Scott Westerhuis murder suicide and house fire. Barnes said, "I was able to determine the Westerhuis's were stealing money," as he described federal money coming into the Mid Centeral Educational Cooperative Foundation account, and being disseminated to the various other subsidiary accounts. The ill-fated Gear Up program was associated with Mid Central Educational Cooperative.
In addition to the money transferred to the Westerhuis personal accounts, numerous construction bills were paid to Platte area businesses for lumber, concrete and various other building goods and services.