A federal grand jury recently convicted two Ramsey County sheriffâ€™s employees of theft of government funds and conspiracy to violate civil rights. They took $6,000 from a hotel room that they thought a drug dealer had left.
This two-year investigation began in the summer of 2004. A convicted methamphetamine dealer looking to reduce his prison sentence told the FBI that he could help them make a corruption case against these police officers. According to the Pioneer Press article explains how the sting went down:
â€œThe FBI had the dealer, Shawn Phillip Arvin Sr., call Rehak and tell him a drug dealer named “Vinnie” had left drugs and money in a room at the Best Western Kelly Inn in St. Paul. Although no drugs were in the room, the FBI planted a bag with $13,500 in the dresser. They also placed surveillance cameras â€” but no microphones. As federal agents watched in the adjoining room, Rehak, Naylon and sheriff’s Sgt. Rolland “Rollie” Martinez searched the room. Martinez was not a target of the sting and was unaware it was going on. While he searched the bathroom, Rehak emptied the bag’s contents on the bed. The video shows Naylon pointing to a roll of bills and Rehak picking up the money and handing it to Naylon. It then shows Naylon putting the bills in his jacket pocket. A few moments later, he left the room, went down to his car in the parking lot and opened the trunk. The FBI contends Naylon took the money out of his jacket and left it in his car. Later, Martinez counted the money in the room and left a search warrant receipt for the amount he found, $7,500. The FBI said that when the men began to suspect they’d been set up, they returned to the room and altered Martinez’s signed receipt to say that $13,500 had been found. All the money was recovered.â€
Both the defendants claimed that this was just a practical joke on Martinez who supervised the sheriffâ€™s Special Investigations Unit. They wanted to play a prank on Martinez who had a reputation for leaving his shift early. Now it seems that this alleged prank is on the two corrupt cops who could face twenty years in prison.
Next week on September 1st St. Paul Minnesota will be hosting the Republican National Convention. FBI, Secret Service, local law enforcement will be out in numbers and security will be heightened.
This type of crime prevention is necessary especially after 9/11. In Denver, security sweeps began a week before the convention and is still ongoing. Recently, a man with rifles and guns was arrested as he walked through a hotel in downtown Denver near the convention. What was he thinking? He claimed that the weapons were part of a safari he was planning and he was just walking through the hotel. Not too bright is he?
Recently, the Pioneer Press reported that three New York videographers were in town to document police conduct during the Republican National Convention were stopped and questioned by Minneapolis police on their way home from a bus stop. They had their equipment confiscated and were then released without so much as a ticket. The police said that these videographers were seen trespassing on a Northeast Minneapolis rail yard taking pictures. This of course triggered homeland security concerns.
In order to prevent crime or terrorist actions during the RNC, law enforcement needs to ensure security in and around the convention center. This means that you may be stopped, searched and questioned if you are in the area without proper papers. If you are an honest citizen, you should not worry about this, but if you have criminal intentions stay away from the RNC convention because you will be arrested.
The Winona Daily News recently reported a drug sting in Winona, Minnesota. Jason Michael Flynn, 24, from Chicago was headed to Zumbrota, Minnesota to sell drugs to a police drug informant. On the way, Flynnâ€™s car broke down on Interstate 90 and had to be towed to Borkowski Inc. Towing and Salvage on 5035 W. 6th St. in Goodview. There the police arrested Flynn for selling 54.25 grams of cocaine for $3,600.
He was charged with first-degree sale of 10 grams or more of cocaine and first-degree possession of more than 25 grams of the drug. According to Minnesota State sentencing guidelines, he faces more than six years in prison if convicted on either charge, even without a criminal history.
Before this incident, the police were investigating Flynn before he stopped in Winona. Thanks to the drug informantâ€™s tip, the police and the Southeast Minnesota Narcotics & Gang Task Force waited for him to arrive in the area. A 17-year-old girl, who was a runaway from Chicago, also accompanied Flynn. She was taken into custody and arrangements were made to send her home.
This was great work done by law enforcement to get another bad guy peddling dangerous drugs off Minnesota streets.
Criminals arenâ€™t the brightest bulb in the pack as we have found out. This article in the Pioneer Press of an alleged bank robber proves this point once again.
Mark Myhre Jr. decided to rob a bank in St. Anthony on August 7. He walked into the TCF bank branch at 3988 Silver Lake Road in St. Anthony and got in the line. When it was his turn, he dug around into his pockets and realized he forgot something â€“ the demand note â€“ and turned and left the bank.
This didnâ€™t stop him. He went home, wrote the note and came back to the same bank about twenty minutes later. This time he was prepared. He gave the teller the note that said, â€œThis is a robbery.â€ The teller handed him $4,435 and an exploding pack of dye. He grabbed the money and ran out of the bank north on Penrod Lane. Surveillance-camera photos were taken of the crime and sent to local media asking for help in identifying the man. Law enforcement officers received numerous tips identifying Myhre as the man in the photos.
When police showed up at his home, they found Myhre with a bandaged injured hand from the exploding dye pack and about $1,500 in dye-stained money. He also was arrested on a check fraud warrant issued in Anoka County.
When arrested, Myhre told law enforcement officers that he was going to call them to turn himself in. He also confessed to the bank robbery, said that he was in debt and needed some money fast. Was Myhre a criminal with a conscience or just another stupid criminal who was caught?
Hennepin Countyâ€™s DWI Court targets people who are likely to repeatedly drink and drive. So far, in the courtâ€™s first year the success rate shows that only one person reoffended. That compares to a 60 to 80 percent rate of reoffending for repeat DWI offenders using the traditional probation supervision model.
The mission of the DWI court is â€œto enhance public safety through a court-supervised program designed to assist repeat DWI offenders and restore them as law-abiding members of our community. A collaborative and strength-based approach is used to support participants while holding them accountable.â€
The Star Tribune reported that more than 100 repeat DWI offenders entered the DWI court during the year. Three years ago the DWI court started in St. Paul and then Hennepin and St. Louis counties picked up the program. The surrending suburbs are also beginning this program. It is modeled after the successful drug courts that were developed in the 1990′s.
The success of the program is made possible by a rigorous schedule that includes intensive supervision that lasts for at least 18 months. Once an offender is doing well, they receive praise from a judge but if an offender is not doing well they receive sanctions.
DWI court defendants can win back limited driving privileges quicker . This allows them to drive to work, court, AA and aftercare but with significant safeguards. Offenders must have insurance and use an ignition interlock that monitors alcohol consumpiton and prevents them from driving if they have been drinking.
In order to fight violent crimes throughout Minnesota the HEALS (Hope, Education, and Law and Safety) program was established over 10 years ago. This unique program involves both corporate commitments and public agencies in collaboration to help reduce violent crime.
One of the corporate sponsorâ€™s for HEALS is Honeywell, Inc. Back in 1996, a New York Times article named Minneapolis as â€œMurderapolisâ€ reflecting a sharp rise in homicides from 60 in 1994 to 86 in 1996. Honeywellâ€™s world headquarters is located in one of the most crime-ridden neighborhoods in Minneapolis. As a result, Honeywell was concerned for the safety of its employees and property and for the quality of life in the surrounding neighborhood. Honeywell decided that in order to remain in the inner city, it had to do something about violent crime.
In 1997, Honeywell’s chief executive officer recruited other CEO’s from private corporations such as Allina Health Systems, 3M, General Mills, and the staff of the Minnesota Business Partnership. They met with the Governor to share their concerns about the escalating local and statewide crime rates. The Governor pledged his support and a series of planning meetings were held with the business community along with Federal, State and local law enforcement agencies where they developed the Law Enforcement Task Force.
Today, Minnesota HEALS is a 61-member organization made up of private corporations and local government agencies. This includes the chiefs of police and mayorsâ€™ offices of Minneapolis and St. Paul, sheriffâ€™s offices, attorneysâ€™ offices and commissioners from Hennepin and Ramsey counties. With 25 to 30 law enforcement representatives from the Minneapolis and St. Paul police departments’ gang, homicide, and narcotics units, the probation department; and Federal agencies such as the FBI, DEA, ATF, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office the HEAL program targets specific groups such as gangs, homicide suspects and helps victims of these crimes.
The Minnesota HEALS program offers a rapid response team, saturation patrols, state gang task force and community and prevention strategies.
Embezzlement may be considered as a white-collar crime, however, any way you look at it, embezzlement is just plain stealing. The definition of embezzlement is the fraudulent appropriation by a person for his own use of property or money entrusted to their care but owned by someone else.
For more than 30 years, people have been stealing from their employers or even financial institutions. A clerk or cashier can slip a few dollars here and there or an entrusted accountant writes a check or two to pay a bogus invoice. This all begins because a person may want to cover a small, short-term financial need even if they intend to give the money back.
Recently, the Minnesota Sun Newspaper reported that a Minnetonka businessman who co-owns Sela Roofing was charged Aug. 5 with numerous federal crimes for allegedly embezzling $600,000 from his business partner and hiding it from taxation. Amit Yitzhak Sela was charged in federal court in Minneapolis with one count of conspiracy, two counts of mail fraud, two counts of tax evasion, three counts of filing a false tax return and one count of procuring a false tax return. He owns half of Sela Roofing, a company based in St. Louis Park with offices in White Bear Lake and Brooklyn Park. If convicted, he could serve as many as five years in prison on the conspiracy count; five years on each tax evasion count; three years on each false-tax- return count; and three years on the procuring count.
He also conspired with Abdullah S. Noaman, Jr., 43 of Shakopee. The federal indictment alleges that from September 2001 through September 2004, Amit Sela and Noaman devised and executed a scheme to embezzle money from Sela Roofing’s other co-owner with fraudulent invoices and then hide the money from the IRS and Minnesota Department of Revenue. They contracted with several vendors to do work for Sela personally and had these vendors falsify addresses on invoices to say the work was done for Sela Roofing Company. In addition, Noaman wrote checks from his business account to pay Selaâ€™s personal expenses, including credit card bills, yard work, house cleaning, vehicle payments, utilities, boat storage, swimming pool payments, interior decorating and jewelry.
The IRS-Criminal Investigation Division led this investigation and said that customers of the roofing company werenâ€™t affected by this embezzlement scheme. The initial court date set is August 19th.
According to the Twin Cities Pioneer Press, a 23-year-old Little Canada man was indicted in Federal court recently on three counts of child pornography. Aaron Jay Lemon was charged with one count of production of child pornography, one count of distribution of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography.
The United States Attorney’s Office indictment cited that Lemon coerced “a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct.” He is also accused of distributing child pornography using a computer. If convicted, this low-life faces 30 years in prison for producing child pornography, 15 years for distributing and 10 years for possessing.
Child pornography is a blight on society. This terrible crime injures many innocent children and has devastating and lasting effects. Children suffer from physical injuries in the course of their molestation, such as genital bruising, lacerations, or exposure to sexually transmitted diseases. Child victims can also experience depression, withdrawal, anger, and other psychological disorders. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Childrenâ€™s web site explains these effects on children.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, one in 33 children receives an unwanted sexual solicitation online each year. One in four children experiences unwanted exposure to sexually explicit material on the Internet each year. And this is shocking – more than 20,000 images of child pornography are posted on the Internet every week.
Recent research conducted by the Federal Bureau of Prisons indicates a strong correlation between possessing or distributing child pornography and committing sexual-contact crimes against children. The Project Safe Childhood (PSC) is a national initiative that encourages the use of multi-jurisdictional task forces to investigate and prosecute cases that involve the sexual exploitation of children over the Internet. PSC urges that law enforcement efforts be complemented by community-wide campaigns to assist victims of exploitation and to educate parents, other adults, and children about Internet safety.
Right after the new Minnesota texting law (see – New law hits texting violators in Minnesota) went into effect, the police pulled over a 25-year old driver in Cass County who was speeding at 80 mph and drifted into a wrong lane while text messaging a friend. But it didnâ€™t stop there, this driver was arrested on suspicion of drinking and driving.
According to the Star Tribune the driver was traveling in the wrong lane when he approached the Cass County deputy’s squad car on Hwy. 371 near Walker. The driver swerved to avoid hitting the squad car, then took off at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour before pulling over.
This traffic incident was part of Operation NightCAP, a twice-monthly operation that focuses on catching drunk drivers. Not only will the driver be charged with drinking and driving and speeding but also charged with operating a motor vehicle while using a wireless communication device to write, read or send an electronic message. The fine for this violation is up to $300.
The moral of the story is donâ€™t text message from your speeding car especially if you are drunk.
Effective August 1, 2008, it is illegal on Minnesota roads to text message, email or access the Web on a wireless device while driving. This new law is considered as a primary offense, which means law enforcement can stop a motorist if they observe the motorist violating the law.
Actually, the law goes even further. If you are operating a motor vehicle, using a wireless communication device to write, read or send an electronic message you can be pulled over and fined up to $300. This applies to drivers of all ages.
This law came about through a study of fatal crashes during the years 2005 through 2007. The study showed that at least 15% of all fatal crashes and 240 traffic deaths occurred because the driver was distracted while texting, emailing or using a wireless device to communicate. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distraction is a major factor in about 25 percent of all crashes.
Since 2006, cell phone use for teen drivers with a provisional license was completely prohibited by law. With this new law, teen drivers cannot text their friends while driving. According to an informal DPS Minnesota teen driving survey, teen respondents said texting was their biggest distraction while driving and the â€œmost unsafeâ€ behavior their friends engaged in while driving.
Texting when driving does not make you a criminal, but not texting while driving will save your life.