REGIONAL BRIEFS: Jeweler charged with fraud over stolen ringWILLMAR, Minn. — A Willmar jeweler has been charged with felony insurance fraud over a claim he submitted for a diamond ring stolen from his store in November.
Forum Communications News Bureau
2 killed in collision (WCT)
REDWOOD FALLS, Minn. — The drivers of two vehicles were killed in a collision about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday west of Redwood Falls.
According to the Minnesota State Patrol, Kari K. Ouoba, 33, of Fairmont, Minn., and Alvin L. Wohnoutka, 76, of Milroy, Minn., were driving vehicles that collided at the junction of State Highway 19 and Redwood County Road 7.
The condition of a male passenger in the Ouoba vehicle, a 2003 Volvo, was not documented by the State Patrol. The man, whose name was not released, was taken to North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale. Wohnoutka was driving a 2003 Chevy van.
Jeweler charged with fraud over stolen ring (WCT)
WILLMAR, Minn. — A Willmar jeweler has been charged with felony insurance fraud over a claim he submitted for a diamond ring stolen from his store in November.
An Atwater, Minn., man was charged in February with felony theft for taking the ring from the jewelry store.
Todd Patrick Paffrath, 59, of Spicer, Minn., is alleged to have filed an insurance claim for the stolen diamond ring for an amount greater than the ring’s alleged value. The stolen ring was later recovered and appraised for about $10,000 less than the claimed amount.
An insurance company issued a check for $15,528.10 to Paffrath on Jan. 12, for the claimed value of the stolen ring, less the $200 insurance deductible. The complaint notes that Paffrath mailed the entire amount back to the insurance company on Jan. 25, after learning the diamond ring had been located at a Twin Cities pawn shop.
The charge against Paffrath was filed July 18 in Kandiyohi County District Court. His first appearance is scheduled for Aug. 15 before District Judge Michael J. Thompson.
Thomas Scott Wright, 54, of Atwater, was charged Feb. 14 with a felony charge of theft for allegedly taking the ring from the Paffrath store. The ring was recovered from a pawn ship in late January.
Four flavors of Cass-Clay Ice Cream recalled (FF)
ST. PAUL – The Minnesota Department of Agriculture and Cass-Clay Creamery of Fargo have issued an allergy alert for undeclared allergens in four varieties of Cass-Clay Ice Cream, according to a news release sent by the agriculture department on Wednesday.
Cass-Clay is voluntarily recalling the affected products that were distributed in Minnesota, Iowa, Michigan, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
The following three products have been recalled because they may contain undeclared Brazil nuts:
* Cass-Clay Maple Nut Ice Cream, one gallon, UPC 70422-03404
* Cass-Clay Premium Light Maple Nut Ice Cream, one gallon, UPC 70422-23404
*Hornbacher’s Maple Nut Ice Cream, half-gallon, UPC 41130-21666
The following product has been recalled because it may contain undeclared peanut oil and soy lecithin:
* Cass-Clay Premium Light Double Chocolate Fudge Ice Cream, half-gallon, UPC 70422-24061.
The release stated that state officials are not aware of any illnesses associated with these products, but people who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to nuts, peanut oil or soy lecithin may risk serious or life-threatening allergic reactions if they consume these products.
The company issued a separate recall for undeclared eggs in a different ice cream product earlier this month.
Consumers are advised to return these products to the store where they were purchased for a full refund.
For more information, call the Cass-Clay Consumer Affairs line at (800) 441-4269.
Man killed in motorcycle wreck (DG)
HARDWICK, Minn. — A Hardwick man was killed Tuesday morning in an accident involving a motorcycle and semitrailer at the corner of U.S. 75 and Rock County 7.
Dale Slieter, 55, who was driving the motorcycle, died in the crash.
The accident happened about 8:30 a.m.
Man pleads guilty to shovel assault (BP)
MINNEAPOLIS – A 26-year-old Red Lake man pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court for assaulting a woman with a shovel.
During a hearing in U.S. District Court, Myron Lee Jones Jr. pleaded guilty to one count of assault resulting in serious bodily injury.
According to a plea agreement, Jones admitted to swinging a shovel during a fight involving several people Aug. 23, 2009. The woman was struck in the back of her head, requiring about 20 interior and exterior stitches.
U.S. District Court Chief Judge Michael Davis will sentence Jones, who faces up to 10 years in prison. A date for the hearing has not been set.
The Red Lake Tribal Police Department and FBI investigated the case.
Ex-stockbroker’s attorney quits in Grafton case (GFH)
GRAND FORKS -- Ross Haugen, the former Grafton, N.D., and Grand Forks stock broker and securities dealer facing a pre-trial conference Aug. 8 on the remaining half-dozen felony counts against him in state district court in Grafton, has no defense lawyer since his previous ones quit in May.
Haugen, 59, faces six felony counts of selling $2.5 million worth of securities to elderly Walsh County residents despite not being licensed in the state, or by federal authorities, to so such business.
Previously facing more than 50 felony counts in four separate cases brought against him by Walsh County State’s Attorney Barbara Whelan, Haugen pleaded guilty to several charges and had others dismissed.
Whelan has said she still has Haugen up on the main charges she wants to convict him on, in a long-running case she says involves Haugen defrauding longtime and elderly clients of his with phony investments.
Haugen was fined more than $2 million by the federal Securities and Exchange Commission in 2010 in which authorities say he was part of a far-flung investment fraud ring that collected more than $30 million from investors across North America, shipping millions to overseas accounts.
Defendant in murder case to be evaluated (FF)
FARGO – A Fargo man accused of stabbing his wife to death in March has been ordered to undergo a mental evaluation to determine if he is fit to proceed with the case and competent to stand trial.
Attorneys for 50-year-old Henry Leo Deniger asked for the evaluation to determine whether he lacks the capacity to understand the proceedings against him and assist in his own defense, and whether he can effectively communicate with his lawyers.
Judge Steven McCullough granted the motion Tuesday in Cass County District Court.
Deniger’s next court appearance is a preliminary hearing on Aug. 2, and the results of the evaluation are expected before then.
In April, McCullough granted a defense request for an evaluation to determine whether Deniger could be held criminally responsible for his actions. The latest defense request says “additional information has been obtained that leads counsel to believe an issue has arisen concerning Deniger’s fitness and ability to proceed.”
In a letter to McCullough dated July 5, Deniger asked the judge to appoint new counsel for him because of a possible conflict of interest with three of the state’s possible witnesses, which he said had caused him to hold back from speaking with his attorneys.
Deniger is represented by public defenders Gordon Dexheimer and Nicholas Thornton.
Derby Girls treasurer set for theft case trial (FF)
FARGO – The former women’s roller derby team accused of stealing thousands of dollars from the Derby Girls organization is scheduled to have her case heard by a jury in September.
Louise Jauss pleaded not guilty to one count of felony theft in Cass County District Court on May 31.
On Wednesday, the date for a jury trial to begin in the case was set as Sept. 11.
According to court documents, members of the Derby Girls suspected Jauss of bilking $21,000 from the organization. Court records allege a private auditor found about $13,000 in unauthorized transactions, mainly ATM withdrawals.
Jauss, who used the name VooLou Child while a derby member, served as treasurer for the league.
If convicted of the Class C felony theft charge, Jauss faces up to five years in prison.
Boy Scout center opening nears (FF)
FARGO – After four years of planning and construction, the $4.3 million Jon L. Wanzek Center for Scouting in south Fargo is expected to open its doors as early as Monday.
The new 15,000-square-foot headquarters for the Northern Lights Council of the Boy Scouts of America is at 42nd Street South and 19th Avenue across from the Schlossman branch of the YMCA.
“It is such an exciting time,” Mark Holtz, Scout Executive of the Northern Lights Council, said of the move from the present downtown location at 301 7th St. S. “We’re packing up offices and looking to the future.”
The center, which broke ground a year ago, reflects the health and vitality of the scout organization, said Doug Restemayer, chairman of the building committee.
The new center is five times the size of the current building, and is more representative of the regional organization, said Steve McLister, Northern Lights Council president.
More than 14,000 Scouts and 4,000 volunteers are part of the Northern Lights Council.
A donor reception for the facility is scheduled next Wednesday, with an official ribbon-cutting ceremony marking the center’s grand opening scheduled at 11 a.m. Aug. 16.
Fargo native named dean of Stanford Law (FF)
FARGO – A Fargo native has been named dean of the Stanford University Law School.
Mary Elizabeth Magill has worked as a senior legislative assistant for energy and natural resources for Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D.
She currently serves as vice dean of the University of Virginia School of Law, where she earned her law degree in 1995.
Magill will assume her new job Sept. 1 and will oversee 650 students and 55 faculty members at the California university.