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Commerce Fraud Bureau investigation results in charges against Paynesville insurance agents

9/2/2015 10:14:43 AM


ST. CLOUD, Minn. – Following an investigation by the Minnesota Commerce Department’s Fraud Bureau, the Stearns County Attorney’s Office has charged Michaela “Kim” Kruger, 57, and Richard A. Kruger, 57, both of rural Paynesville, with orchestrating an investment fraud scheme over the past seven years.

Michaela Kruger was charged with four counts of theft by swindle, and Richard A. Kruger was charged with four counts of aiding and abetting theft by swindle. They are scheduled to make their first court appearance on October 5.

According to the criminal complaint:

The Krugers are licensed insurance agents who operated the Kruger Insurance Agency in Paynesville. From approximately 2008 through 2014, they convinced numerous insurance and tax clients to invest money in a product offered through their business. The product, which offered a 3 to 6% rate of return, was purportedly tied to a “custodial account” administered by the Krugers. In reality, there was no such investment or account. The criminal complaint alleges that the Krugers personally used the “invested” money they received from their clients.

“The defendants in this case not only stole money, they also stole the trust and peace of mind of the people they victimized,” said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. “It’s a pattern we see too often, with victims who are vulnerable seniors or who thought the defendants were their trusted advisers. The Commerce Fraud Bureau is working closely with our law enforcement partners to go after the people who commit fraud and financial crimes.”

The Fraud Bureau’s investigation, with assistance from the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office, determined that between 2008 and 2014, the Krugers stole over $250,000. Due to the statute of limitations, the criminal complaint charges the Krugers with stealing more than $85,000.

If you believe you may be a victim of Michaela or Richard Kruger, please contact the Commerce Fraud Bureau at 651-539-1617.

This investigation began with a complaint from a concerned individual. Commerce Commissioner Rothman encourages everyone to ask questions before they invest and to carefully monitor their financial accounts even when working with an insurance agent or investment advisor.

If you have questions or concerns about potential investment scams or fraud, contact the Commerce Department’s Consumer Services Center by email at consumer.protection@state.mn.us or by phone at 651-539-1600 or 800-657-3602 (outside the Twin Cities metro area).

Fraud

Banking & Finance

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