Defendant prosecuted as part of The Guardians Project, a federal law enforcement initiative to combat corruption, fraud, and abuse in South Dakota
Date: May 12, 2020
A former contractor was sentenced for an embezzlement scheme involving tribal funds, which he pleaded guilty to on September 23, 2019. Dustin Martin Kirk of Sisseton, South Dakota was sentenced to 24 months in federal prison, and ordered to pay $384,289 in restitution and $100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund. Following his release from custody, Kirk will serve 3 years of supervised release. U.S. District Judge Charles B. Kornmann presided over the sentencing hearing.
According to court documents, between August 2016 and December 2018, Kirk and his now-defunct business, Siouxland Lumber & Materials, LLC, embezzled, stole, and converted nearly $400,000 of monies, funds, credits, goods, assets, and other property belonging to Dakota Nation Development Corporation and the Sisseton-Wahpeton Housing Authority, both of which are entities of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Sioux Tribe and Indian Tribal Organizations.
At times material to this case, the Dakota Nations Development Corporation ("DNDC") and the Sisseton-Wahpeton Housing Authority ("SWHA") were separate agencies of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Sioux Tribe, a tribal government that received federal assistance in excess of $10,000 during each calendar year of 2016, 2017, and 2018. On behalf of the tribe, DNDC administered tax credit housing. DNDC was a legal entity and it filed the incorporating documents with the South Dakota Secretary of State. SWHA administered federal housing programs, and it is governed by a tribal board.
Kirk established Siouxland Lumber & Materials, LLC, on April 29, 2016. The company dissolved on May 4, 2018. Defendant was the sole owner of Siouxland Lumber, and he used his company and its bank account for personal expenses and to withdraw money for non-business related purchases, including gambling.
Kirk was ordered to self-report to the U.S. Marshal's Service or Bureau of Prisons to begin serving his term of imprisonment on June 2, 2020.
The case was brought pursuant to 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: Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division; 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; U.S. Postal Inspector Service; U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General.