ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

County files criminal charges against Fond du Lac tribal councilor

A Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa councilor allegedly pocketed a $2,000 check intended to finance the construction of a bike path on the reservation.

A Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa councilor allegedly pocketed a $2,000 check intended to finance the construction of a bike path on the reservation.

Court documents state Reservation Business Committee member Vanessa Northrup deposited the check from the University of Minnesota into her personal bank account in September 2016.

The funds were intended to build a path between the band's government building and the university's Cloquet Forestry Center. The Carlton County Sheriff's Office began investigating Northrup when the missing check was reported a year later, according to the criminal complaint.

Northrup, 45, of Cloquet was charged Thursday, Dec. 7, with felony counts of theft and receiving stolen property. She has been summoned to appear in State District Court in Carlton Dec. 20.

According to the criminal complaint, the reservation's financial staff discovered the missing funds while conducting an audit this September and requested the assistance of the sheriff's office.

ADVERTISEMENT

Investigators said they obtained bank records showing that Northrup deposited the check, which was written out to the reservation, into a personal account on Sept. 6, 2016. Band officials reported she did not have the authority to endorse the check for personal use, according to the complaint.

Investigators said Northrup at the same time deposited a check in her own name worth $176, but withdrew a total of $300 in cash from the two transactions.

Each felony charge carries a maximum of five years in prison, if convicted. A check of Northrup's history shows she had misdemeanor convictions from the 1990s including damage to property and violating a harassment order.

Northrup was elected to the RBC's District 1 seat in June 2016. The Pine Journal ran a story last week regarding the alleged theft and efforts by band members to circulate a petition to have Northrup removed from office.

–Forum News Service

What To Read Next
Fundraising is underway to move the giant ball of twine from the Highland, Wisconsin, home of creator James Frank Kotera, who died last month at age 75, 44 years after starting the big ball.