Many people think fraud is a victimless crime.
Whether it's bad checks or stolen credit card numbers, a bank usually ends up covering the losses.
But one Sioux Falls small business owner says fraud perpetrated on his account has put him out of business.
KELOLAND's Angela Kennecke investigates the reasons why and finds out why the wheels of justice turn so slowly in these kinds of cases.
You may remember "Honest Dan" from reports last year on KELOLAND News. Dan Iseminger showed us vandalized cars on his lo on West 12th street.
The Sioux Falls car dealer told us months of vandalism had resulted in nearly $100,000 in damages.
At the time, Iseminger told us he was determined to stay in business. But that all changed this spring when Iseminger ran into even more bad luck.
After getting his cars vandalized, Dan Iseminger just about threw in the towel on his new business.
“I was very close to calling it quits at that point because it was a very deep hole I got dug into," Iseminger said.
It was as if a black cloud were following him around because in March, something else happened at his West 12th Street car lot.
“A friend of mine stopped by and found me in the parking lot. He was the one that called 911 and literally saved my life. My head had been bashed in and I'm not sure what had happened because I don't remember a lot about it,” Iseminger said.
A couple months later, he discovered someone had stolen checks out of his office.
“And found out my accounts had been completely wiped out," Iseminger said.
The bank knew who'd written forged checks on his account.
“The bank had the video; the photos; they had the checks--they had everything. Called the police department and filed a police report. I thought it was going to be pretty much a cut and dried case," Iseminger said.
But it wasn't. Iseminger was out of funds and couldn't make good on his payment to his auto financing company.
“It was almost two months that I wasn't able to buy or sell any cars and so I had no income coming in and it drained me to the point where I had to close up. You expect when something like that happens, a crime that serious, that they would be arrested immediately and brought to jail," Iseminger said.
Police took his report on May 11, but it took until October for authorities to issue warrants.
Richard Knutson and Chelsey Bass are accused of writing three checks totaling more than $5,000 to themselves and cashing them at Service First locations just days before Iseminger reported the crime.
AK: Why did it take so long?
Dan Iseminger: “I'm not sure. That would be a question for the Minnehaha County State's Attorney's office,"
“Unfortunately we can't meet those expectations--with 17,800 open cases in this office we are overwhelmed and the caseloads are just too high to do swift justice and appropriate justice in every single case," Minnehaha County State's Attorney Aaron McGowan said.
According to court documents Bass even admitted to the crime to police.
“What their claim was is that it was a refund on cars I sold them. I never met either one in my life,” Iseminger said.
Bass was on Minnehaha County's most wanted website until this Wednesday morning when she turned herself.in. She has a long rap sheet and was also wanted on aggravated assault charges.
Richard Knutson made his initial appearance on grand theft charges just this week.
AK: The owner of Honest Dan's says your actions subsequently put him out of business...
Attorney Ken Tschetter:”No comment.”
They broke into my office, stole my checks, embezzled this money. In the end it cost me my business," Iseminger said.
Minnehaha County State's Attorney Aaron McGowan says his office's caseload is up 20 percent over last year, mostly fueled by crimes linked to meth. McGowan says his 21 attorneys average about 800 cases each.
The county turned down his request for four additional attorneys.
Police say they're overwhelmed as well. Fraud detective are working on 100 to 200 open fraud cases at a time.
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