Blackwell pleads guilty to embezzlement from MIEA

The former treasurer of the Minnesota Indian Education Association pleaded guilty to embezzling public funds.

According to the complaint, 44-year-old William Blackwell was writing checks to himself from the MIEA, where he served as treasurer from December 2016 to June 2019.

The complaint says Blackwell had taken approximately $140,000. For at least part of his term as MIEA’s treasurer, he was also executive director at Bemidji State University’s American Indian Resource Center.

Detective Heather Holden, through an investigation of financial documents and forensic accounting, found the total taken from the MIEA’s bank account by Blackwell was $138,579 between 2016 and 2019.

Blackwell was initially charged in Beltrami County in March.


Larissa Donovan is the News Director for the stations of Paul Bunyan Broadcasting and has been, almost without interruption, since Election Day 2016. She covers events and issues in north central Minnesota, which include local government, crime, courts, education, environment and social issues. She studied communications at Bemidji State University and received her degree in 2018. Larissa, native to the great state of New York, grew up in Bemidji, and enjoys spending her spare time with her family and pet cat. She also loves Star Trek, punk rock music and the theater.


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