Two Individuals Sentenced for Embezzling Thousands from Native American Addiction and Counseling Center

Ain Dah Ing

 

A federal judge in Wisconsin on Friday sentenced two individuals for embezzling thousands from Ain Dah Ing (ADI), a nonprofit that offered mental health and alcohol and substance abuse services to Native American tribes in Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

U.S. District Judge William M. Conley sentenced Edith Schmuck and Fredericka DeCoteau to one and two years in prison, respectively.

In total, the two stole over $777,000 from the nonprofit. Because the program is funded by a federal contract with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, and Indian Health Services Division, the two pleaded guilty to one count of theft of federal funds earlier this year.

The embezzlement, which lasted for approximately ten years, was carried out “by paying themselves unauthorized bonuses via payroll checks that were signed using a rubber signature stamp of the ADI Treasurer,” Timothy M. O’Shea, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, described.

When releasing the details of the sentences, Conley pointed to the size and scope of the embezzlement operation.

According to a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice, the judge detailed that the two “stole over 67% of the total funds intended for programming at ADI, and that they gambled away most of this money at local Indian casinos” and “violated the trust of the ADI Board of Directors and took advantage of vulnerable people with addictions.”

At the same time the two were lifting funds from the program, Wisconsin and many Native American tribes were facing an explosion of deaths due to suicide and opioid addiction.

Specifically, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, there were 916 opioid overdose deaths, an increase of more than 500 deaths per year from when the embezzlement started.

Likewise, suicide rates in the state have continued to climb.

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Cooper Moran is a reporter for the Star News Network. Follow Cooper on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Ain Dah Ing” by Ain Dah Ing.

 

 

 

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