1/13/2017 9:04:19 AM
MINNEAPOLIS – A Champlin man who directed operations at a bail bond company has been charged with forging a bail bond in the case of a woman charged with murder, Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman and Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced.
Anthony J. Hanson, 45, is charged in Hennepin County District Court with two counts of aggravated forgery.
“When our judicial system is defrauded, all Minnesotans are victims,” said Rothman, whose agency regulates the insurance industry, including bail bonds. “Both the Commerce Fraud Bureau and our civil enforcement unit investigated this case, which involved not only forgery related to bail bond insurance but, most seriously, an effort to violate the integrity of the judicial system.”
According to the criminal complaint, in May 2016, Beverly Burrell contacted Ability Bail Bonds in Minneapolis to discuss posting a bond to be released from jail. Burrell had been charged with third-degree murder in connection with selling heroin to a man who overdosed and died. She is currently charged with third-degree murder in four separate overdose cases.
Burrell’s family paid Hanson $18,500 toward making the bail of $350,000. Because Hanson only had a bond worth $100,000, he altered it in an effort to pass it off as a $500,000 bond.
“We believe Ms. Burrell is responsible for the deaths of four people and we intend to prove it in court,” Freeman said. “Nevertheless, neither she nor her family deserve to be swindled like this by someone who has the confidence of the court system.”
Under Minnesota law, bail bonds are defined as a form of insurance and are regulated by the Commerce Department. Bail bond agents, agencies and sureties must receive approval from the Minnesota Court Administrator’s Office before they conduct business with Minnesota district courts.
According to the criminal complaint:
Ability Bail Bonds has been in business since 2009, with Hanson in charge of its daily operations and his wife listed as the owner. Hanson’s insurance producer’s license was revoked by the Commerce Department in 2008 for committing fraud when he worked for Integrity Bonding.
In June 2016, Financial Casualty & Surety Inc. contacted the Commerce Department to report fraud by its client, Ability Bail Bonds. Somebody at Ability forged bond documents and presented them to Hennepin County District Court on behalf of Burrell. Her family had paid Ability to obtain the $350,000 bond set by the court. However, Financial had never issued Ability a large enough Power of Attorney form, or “Power,” to allow it to post a $350,000 bond.
Hanson directed another Ability employee to purchase glue and tweezers. Hanson used those materials to cut a “5” from a $5,000 bond, pasted it over the “1” in the $100,000 bond and flattened it under an encyclopedia.
The $350,000 bond for Burrell was posted on May 29 and she was released from custody the next day. The Court issued a warrant for her on June 3 once the fraud was discovered.
In an interview with investigators, Hanson admitted he had kept most of the money provided by Burrell’s family and that he also forged his wife’s signature on the bond.
The Commerce Department suspended the insurance license of Ability Bail Bonds in June.