SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — From cases of fraud to sex abuse to accountability in government programs and with state officials, 2021 was a major year for KELOLAND News Investigations. Here are the highlights from Angela Kennecke’s reports, including two investigations that were nominated for Upper Midwest Emmy Awards.
KELOLAND Investigates kicked off 2021 with a report called “Payback Time,” which brought you the stories of people who were told they had to pay back unemployment benefits they collected during the pandemic.
The South Dakota Department of Labor claimed it overpaid $2.7 million in unemployment benefits and was demanding the money back.
“I don’t know anyone who it wouldn’t be a hardship on to get an unexpected $10,000 bill in the mail,” Haigh said.
Jena Haigh won on appeal and only had to pay back $35. Sarah Knutson, who was told she owed nearly $6,000, will only have to pay back $1,035. on appeal.
Fake Farms: The New Cash Crop
In March, KELOLAND Investigates tracked down dozens of cases of fraud in a Small Business Administration program called the Emergency Injury Disaster Loans or EIDL for short. In South Dakota, nearly 8,000 businesses received $463.5 million. But KELOLAND Investigates uncovered that some of those businesses turned out to be fake farms with addresses smack dab in the middle of South Dakota towns.
Angela Kennecke: So is this Beth…