Former MIEA treasurer charged with embezzlement

The former treasurer of the Minnesota Indian Education Association is accused of embezzling public funds.

According to the complaint, 44-year-old William Blackwell of Bemidji is accused of writing checks to himself from the MIEA, where he served in his role from December 2016 to June 2019.

The complainant, a representative of the MIEA, told investigators that Blackwell had taken approximately $140,000.

William Blackwell, Bemidji State University

Blackwell allegedly told a detective on the case that he became treasurer in the fall of 2015 and admitted that in the spring of 2016, he began taking cash withdrawals, which he estimated to be between $50,000 and $80,000.

Through investigation of financial documents and forensic accounting, Detective Heather Holden found the data to show a total of $138,579 taken from MIEA’s bank account by Blackwell between 2016 and 2019.

Blackwell was also the American Indian Resource Center’s executive director at Bemidji State University for part of this time period.


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 is also an active member with the Bemidji Jaycees, a leadership development through community service organization for adults 18 to 40. Larissa, native to the great state of New York, grew up in Bemidji, and enjoys spending her spare time with her growing family and pet cat. She also loves Star Trek, punk rock music and the theater.


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