PIERRE, S.D – Today in open session of the Legislative Government Operations and Audit Committee (GOAC), Attorney General Jackley provided a summary of the Division of Criminal Investigation’s (DCI) investigation into allegations of individual financial misconduct at the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED). Attorney General Jackley provided a chronology of events including the Governor’s request of April 8, 2013, (link), for the Attorney General to investigate the allegations of financial misconduct. Attorney General Jackley advised the Committee that DCI commenced a criminal investigation involving thousands of voluminous financial records including personal bank records, loan documentation, correspondence, emails, as well as witness interviews, preparation of criminal process documentation and meetings with Benda’s defense counsel. The Attorney General further advised the Legislative Committee that throughout the investigation the GOED was cooperative, and that the investigation file was opened to the Legislative Auditor General consistent with court supervision.
The Attorney General provided the Legislative Committee with the draft criminal complaint and arrest warrant prepared and finalized on October 8, 2013 at 2:36 p.m. The Attorney General further provided the Committee with the grand jury letter of October 11, 2013 scheduling grand jury for October 28, 2013. Based upon the events of October 22, 2013 wherein state, federal and local law enforcement authorities responded to Richard Benda’s death in rural Charles Mix County, no further state criminal action has been taken.
On November 21, 2013 Attorney General Jackley provided the Governor and federal authorizes with the investigation results on both voucher concerns and the investigations discovery of $550,000 of future fund monies being redirected from its intended purpose and used to prepay EB5 loan monitoring fees for the South Dakota Regional Center. Because the EB5 program is a federal immigration program run and controlled by federal immigration authorities the Attorney General’s Office has provided its investigative findings and access to its investigation file to federal authorities.
All documents provided to the Legislative Committee outside of executive session are attached. Further comments from the Attorney General were limited based upon privacy protections of the grand jury and witness material. Additional disclosures would require a court order.