- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 27, 2016

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - Three people have pleaded not guilty to felony charges from a financial investigation into the GEAR UP college-readiness program.

Dan Guericke, Stephanie Hubers and Stacy Phelps entered their pleas in court on Wednesday.

They were indicted this month from the investigation launched after Scott Westerhuis shot his wife and their four children before setting fire to their house and killing himself.

Authorities say Scott and Nicole Westerhuis embezzled from Mid-Central Educational Cooperative before their deaths by transferring funds without authorization to a nonprofit where they had financial oversight positions.

Phelps and Guericke allegedly helped the Westerhuises attempt to avoid a potential audit of the nonprofit. Hubers faces charges related to theft or receiving stolen property.

Trials could start in the fall or early next year.

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