In a mortgage fraud case that included properties in North Minneapolis, and spanned two long, complex trials due to a quirky juror and a mistrial, the conviction of Susan Newell finally happened some days ago. Newell was convicted on multiple counts of theft by swindle and one count of racketeering, with aggravating factors.
The Star Tribune wrote an article about the conviction--which I loathe linking to, because Star Tribune links have a tendency to go dead and sometimes get "sticky" when you're trying to pull up the link. I've spent two years griping about this but nothing changes at the Star Tribune, except they seem to have fewer employees all the time and more trees just keep dying to put out newsprint. Whatever. The article was unsatisfying in a number of aspects, and I'd like to list those aspects and add more information about the recent conviction.
First and foremost--here's a link, click here, to the actual criminal complaint in the case, which conveniently lists all the properties at issue including--here's my main interest--the ones in North Minneapolis. Would it have been so hard for the Star Tribune to provide access to this document via a link from their online story? I mean, it's not like the Media Relations person at the County Attorney's office didn't, gee, put it right on their website.
...two attorneys at the prosecutor's office put in hundreds of hours into this case yet were not even named in the article. They are Brad Johnson and Wendy Zeller. Johnson was the attorney who landed the conviction of Larry Maxwell, which this blog reported in extensive detail. (Liz Johnston also worked the Larry Maxwell case)
Third, there were many details lacking from the article, such as the fact Susan Newell--who now almost certainly faces a term in prison--has a number of children, some of which were reportedly in the court room. She was NOT taken into custody after the verdict. I certainly wouldn't bet money on Susan Elizabeth Newell showing up for sentencing. Newell has an extensive criminal history, as documented in the criminal complaint.
Fourth--and here I'm merely making a point, not criticizing the Star Tribune--Susan Newell should have made some kind of desperate plea bargain instead of rolling the dice. One mortgage fraudster after another has been taken down by the county prosecutor in the last couple years. It took two shots to get Newell, but get her they did.
Anybody charged with crimes related to mortgage fraud would be well-advised, in Hennepin County, to make some kind of deal. But it seems like mortgage scammers are an overly-confident bunch, who always think they can somehow beat the rap. At least it makes for a somewhat entertaining legal spectacle.
For the sake of the historical record, and the convenience of future would-be property owners, here's a list of the properties in North Minneapolis which were caught up in this mortgage fraud. Photo tour, anybody?
2207 Aldrich Ave. N.
818 Queen Ave. N.
2720-2722 Penn Ave. N.
2918 Russell Ave. N.
4527 Bryant Ave. N.
1514 Thomas Ave. N.
(This last property, notably, fell into the hands of the infamous Dana D III entity)