South Dakota News

FBI says investigation into SDRC still active
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — An FBI spokesman says an investigation into the South Dakota Regional Center and a federal investment-for-green card program is still active. Spokesman Kyle Loven confirmed to KELO-TV this week that a federal probe into the EB-5 program and SDRC, the private entity that managed the program for South Dakota, remains an active investigation. Governor Dennis Daugaard (DOO'-gahrd) announced a year ago that the state economic development office was under investigation by state and federal officials. A spokesman with U.S. Customs and Immigration Services later confirmed to KELO-TV last November that the FBI investigation involved the EB-5 program and SDRC. Loven wouldn't confirm to the news station any other details, citing the ongoing nature of the case.

Rounds sits on $667,000 ahead of Election Day
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Republican Mike Rounds' U.S. Senate campaign says it has $667,000 banked in the final fundraising period disclosed ahead of the fall elections. Rounds' camp said on Wednesday that he raised about $269,000 between October 1st and October 15th. Reports specifying campaign expenditures and fundraising during that period are due on Thursday. Rounds is a former governor who's engaged in a competitive four-way contest for South Dakota's open Senate seat. Democrat Rick Weiland and independents Larry Pressler and Gordon Howie are fighting for the vacancy left by retiring Democratic U.S. Senator Tim Johnson. Weiland's campaign said Tuesday that he had raised about $400,000 in the same period, but didn't say how much was in the bank. Pressler heads toward the election with roughly $169,000 on hand. Howie's figures weren't immediately available.

Weiland raised most in latest fundraising period
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Democrat Rick Weiland's campaign says it has outraised Republican Mike Rounds in a tight four-way U.S. Senate race that once seemed like an easy Republican pickup. Rounds' team estimates that he raised about $269,000 in the latest campaign finance disclosure period. That's about $55,000 short of the $324,000 Weiland adviser Steve Jarding says his team collected between October 1st and October 15th. The final campaign finance disclosures ahead of the election are to be released on Thursday. Rounds has routinely outraised Weiland throughout the race. Rounds still appears to have a bigger bank. The Republican's campaign says it has about $667,000 on hand, while Jarding says Weiland has $334,000. Independent Larry Pressler has about $169,000 on hand and raised about $54,000. Independent Gordon Howie's funding wasn't immediately available Wednesday.

Pressler has $169,000 ahead of Senate election
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Independent Larry Pressler's U.S. Senate campaign says it has $169,000 in the bank in the last fundraising period disclosed before Election Day. Pressler's report to the Federal Elections Commission released Wednesday shows he raised about $54,000 between October 1st through October 15th. Reports detailing expenditures and money raised during that period are due on Thursday. The former Republican U.S. representative and senator loaned himself $67,000 during the same time. Pressler is in a close four-way contest for South Dakota's open Senate seat. Republican Mike Rounds, Democrat Rick Weiland and independent Gordon Howie and are vying for the opening left by retiring U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson, a Democrat. Weiland's campaign said Tuesday that he had raised about $400,000 in the same period. Rounds' campaign didn't immediately return requests for comment Wednesday.

Poems, but few ads -- Pressler seeks Senate return
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Former Senator Larry Pressler plans to campaign with the best surrogate he can imagine during the homestretch of South Dakota's suddenly competitive, four-way Senate race: A 78-year-old, retired FBI agent named John Good. Pressler says he can't afford many campaign ads. Good headed the Abscam bribery investigation for the FBI that led to the conviction of seven members of Congress. Pressler's claim to fame is that he refused a bribe. Good is part of Pressler's push to win the South Dakota Senate seat. A month ago Pressler was an afterthought, but now Democrats and Republicans agree the former senator has disrupted a race that includes Republican former Governor Mike Rounds, Democratic businessman Rick Weiland and tea party-inspired independent Gordon Howie.

Large Sully County fire burns sunflowers, pasture
ONIDA, S.D. (AP) — A fire that started in a sunflower field being combined in Sully County spread quickly in gusty conditions and burned as many as 1,500 acres. Onida Fire Chief Brian Ring tells KGFX radio that it took firefighters from five departments about five hours to put down the flames west of Onida on Tuesday. Farmers helped out by plowing a fire line, and area residents and businesses brought tankers of water to the scene. Ring says the fire burned an area about three miles long and half a mile wide in spots. It burned the sunflower field, wheat stubble and pasture grass. KCCR radio reports that no one was hurt and no structures were threatened.

68-year-old man alleges victim 'came onto' him
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A Minnehaha (mih-nee-HAH'-hah) County attorney says a 68-year-old Sioux Falls man caught on camera reaching under the shirt of a 7-year-old girl told the victim's mother that she came onto him. The Argus Leader reports police arrested Larry Wallenstein on Tuesday. He is charged with sexual contact with a child under 16 and appeared in court for the first time Wednesday. Prosecutor Lori Ehlers says Wallenstein was given the opportunity to write a letter to the mother of victim. In it Wallenstein alleges that the victim "came onto me with her eyes." Court documents show Wallenstein has admitted to touching the victim's stomach and then her chest. A judge increased Wallenstein's bond to $25,000 cash Wednesday after attorneys learned of a second victim. It's unclear whether Wallenstein has an attorney.

Woman guilty of tax fraud sentenced to 3 years
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A Sioux Falls woman convicted of not paying taxes on more than $600,000 earned from exotic dances over four years has been sentenced to nearly three years in prison. Veronica Fairchild, of Canistota, was found guilty in June of four counts of tax fraud. The Argus Leader reports the 42-year-old Fairchild was also ordered Wednesday to pay almost $215,000 in back taxes. Prosecutors say Fairchild filed late tax returns in 2010 from 2005 through 2008 and claimed the unreported income from performing private shows as an exotic dancer was a gift. On Wednesday, Fairchild and her family pleaded for a probation sentence. Fairchild has three children, including an infant daughter. She said that she lost her husband last year and didn't want to leave her children without a parent.

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