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Minnesota nonprofit chief accused of 6-figure fraud

Federal prosecutors have accused a St. Paul woman who formerly operated two nonprofit organizations of stealing government funds intended for the organizations. The 57-year-old woman's nonprofits had been focused on preventing teen pregnancy and assisting various minority groups. According to charges read in federal court on July 11, the woman had used grant money set aside for the nonprofit groups to pay for personal expenses, including designer clothing and handbags. In total, the woman is accused of taking more than $460,000.

According to the criminal complaint, money set aside by the Minnesota Department of Health to fight sexually transmitted diseases and teen pregnancy and to provide housing assistance to families in need had instead been used to pay for the defendant's personal expenses, such as her mortgage and car payments. The alleged fraud took place over the course of more than four years, ending in late 2012. That same year, the Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor said that it had found evidence that the woman had fabricated documents in order to cover up the fraud.

Minnesota man sentenced in fatal suspected DWI crash

A Douglas County District Court judge has sentenced a 19-year-old Alexandria resident to serve time in relation to a deadly highway accident that occurred more than one year ago. In accordance with a plea agreement reached with prosecutors, the judge sentenced the teenager to serve 41 months imprisonment. The teenager had pleaded guilty to a single count of vehicular homicide on May 14; he had been charged with three counts prior to the plea deal.

The Alexandria teenager was charged in the aftermath of a May 25, 2013, crash that occurred on Interstate 94. The teenager and his passenger were reportedly headed home after a graduation party in Sauk Center when their vehicle sideswiped a semi-truck during an attempted pass. The vehicle rolled onto the median; according to authorities, the 18-year-old passenger was unresponsive when he was found near the vehicle while the driver received non-life-threatening injuries. A blood test later measured the driver's BAC at .14 percent.

Authorities focus on juvenile curfew violations

Law enforcement officers in Minnesota are reportedly cracking down on those under the age of 18 who stay out past their curfew. According to the report, certain cities, such as St. Paul, are developing a program that connects those who violate the curfew law with case management services to help keep them out of trouble.

Part of the problem, however, is that many of the youth who are picked up have nowhere to go. Many may wander in an attempt to go to a homeless shelter or to avoid going home, where they may not feel safe. Others get into trouble because they simply do not know that there is a curfew or what time that curfew actually begins. Juvenile center data shows that 80 percent of kids who were brought in for curfew violations were never cited for another violation.

Man attributes Minnesota accident to girlfriend's jealousy

A 42-year-old Florida man has been detained in connection with a fatal July 4 accident. His 29-year-old girlfriend died after the vehicle went into a lake. According to the man, the decedent became angry after another woman hugged him while they were at a bar. He indicated that she hit him numerous times as he drove, causing him to lose his view of the roadway. He notes that he got out of the vehicle and attempted unsuccessfully to locate her.

Authorities may believe that the man was drunk driving. According to reports, the man demonstrated slurred speech, and an odor of alcohol was detected. He reportedly admitted to having two alcoholic beverages earlier in addition to taking prescription medication that could produce effects similar to those connected with alcohol consumption. He allegedly refused breath testing requests and was eventually subjected to blood testing. Results have not yet been received.

Minnesota man accused of role in $22 million airline fraud

Two men, residents of Apple Valley, Minnesota and Los Angeles, respectively, have been indicted on charges related to their alleged participation in a lengthy and lucrative scheme to defraud major airlines, according to the Atlanta U.S. attorney's office. A federal grand jury passed down the indictment on June 10. The indictment states that the Minnesota man had been an employee of Northwest Airlines since 1979 and that he continued to work for Delta Airlines after Delta bought out Northwest in 2008.

The indictment alleges that the two men conspired to receive payments from Northwest and Delta for services and products that were ultimately never provided. The Minnesota man allegedly submitted false invoices to the airline companies from a company owned by the Los Angeles man, leading the companies to make payouts to the company that totaled approximately $22 million. The fraud allegedly ran from 2004 until 2013.

Restaurant workers accused of identity theft

Two people have been charged in relation to an apparent identity theft ring based at a Minnesota fast food restaurant. The two are facing charges of aiding and abetting financial card fraud, but police may file more charges as the investigation continues. The investigation began in March when a woman realized that her credit card was missing following a stop at a Woodbury Burger King drive-thru.

A nearly $700 flat-screen television was purchased with the card, and one of the restaurant's employees was allegedly seen on surveillance video picking it up from a store in Eagan. Additionally, approximately $2,800 was spent at Apple's website on various merchandise.

Minnesota man facing felony domestic assault charges

A Minnesota man faced a felony charge on June 11 after an incident in which he allegedly punched a woman in the face. Police said that the man assaulted the woman and prevented her from calling 911 after an argument.

Neighbors reported called police just after 12:30 a.m. on the night of the incident in St. Peter. Officers who responded to the call said that the woman's face displayed visible injury. She said that the man took her cellphone as she tried to call 911 and then punched her before taking a phone away from her son. Neighbors said that they saw the man fleeing from the home afterward.

The frequency of false confessions amongst juveniles

Minnesota residents may remember the case of a jogger being attacked in New York City's Central Park during the 1980s. Five boys confessed to the crime, and they were subsequently convicted and incarcerated for 12 years before evidence emerged that exonerated them. It may seem strange that juveniles would make detailed confessions to a crime that they did not commit, but research indicates that this occurs quite frequently.

While some of this may be due to police officers not properly grasping the nature of juvenile psychology, much of the fault lies with the tactics taken during questioning. Juveniles are often deterred from exercising their rights because law enforcement officers tell them that it would look suspicious. The training that officers receive to identify signs of deception by interpreting body language has also been criticized. Experts say that these techniques are unreliable and often lead to a high level of confidence in incorrect conclusions.

7 from Minnesota accused being involved in fraud ring

It was reported on June 20 that seven Minnesota residents were accused being involved in a fraud ring that targeted consumers' banking information. They were indicted on federal charges related to fraud for their alleged involvement on June 19. They stand accused of stealing more than $1 million from institutions that range from gas stations to drugstore chains.

According to the report, the ring operated as a hierarchy that used lower level runners to physically carry out the acts of fraud. The runner would allegedly steal the consumer's identifying information which often included a Social Security number or even a birth certificate. With this information, the ring could then obtain documents that would allow it to open bank accounts. The accused individuals then allegedly drew out money from these accounts using counterfeit checks.

Dog sniff during stop used in Minnesota DWI, drug crime charges

Drivers in Minnesota may understand that police cannot lawfully conduct a traffic stop without a legal justification. Courts generally describe the standard for pulling over a car as requiring officers to have a reasonable, articulable suspicion of a violation of the law. Violations may be minor traffic offenses, equipment violations or some other suspicion of criminal activity. But, once a car is pulled over, Minnesota courts frown on police expanding the scope of the traffic stop, unless new or additional reasonable, articulable suspicion arises. Searches are governed by rules that protect individual rights as well.

These kinds of issues may involve legal analysis of all of the facts. Often news reports do not address the details as in depth as what a criminal defense lawyer may look at in a criminal case. However, news reports often include a few details that may be instructive in highlighting a point.

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