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Former Kanabec County Sheriff To Appear In Court

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011 at 1:08 pm

Washington County prosecutors say a Woodbury man was among several victims of a former Kanabec County sheriff convicted in a swindling scheme.

Former sheriff Von Forest Thompson, 55, makes his first appearance tomorrow (Feb. 3)  in Washington County District Court on felony charges that he swindled a Woodbury businessman out of $115,000.

Thompson was the Kanabec County sheriff from 1983 to 1999. He was convicted in April 2010 of three felony theft charges for running a Ponzi scheme and tax evasion.

According to online Minnesota court records, a 42-month prison sentence was stayed in that case, provided Thompson abided the terms of a 20-year probationary sentence.

The Washington County charges were filed in July 2010.

According to a criminal complaint, Woodbury resident David Pietsch contacted Kanabec County authorities in November 2008 to report Thompson had swindled him out of the funds.

According to the complaint, Thompson approached Pietsch in June 2008 at his Woodbury office, where Thompson asked him to invest in an airplane he was planning to rebuild. Thompson told Pietsch he could expect a 15- to 20-percent investment return.

Pietsch wrote Thompson a check for $50,000. According to prosecutors, Thompson cashed the check and spread the money into his business’ construction company account to pay another investor, converted some to cash and used a portion to pay personal bills.

The Woodbury Bullitin reports that Thompson allegedly approached Pietsch in 2008 on two other occasions, where he received checks for $35,000 and $30,000. Both checks were supposed to go toward motorcycle investments.

Shortly before Thompson was charged in Kanabec County, he approached Pietsch requesting a $150,000 loan, saying it “would help his situation,” the complaint states. Pietsch declined the request.

The complaint states Thompson never repaid Pietsch’s investment funds.

Thompson is charged in Washington County with theft by swindle and theft through false representation. Both charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.

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