Hennepin County judge Amundson charged with theft

Joanna Dornfeld

Hennepin County appeals court Judge Ronald Amundson was charged Tuesday with five felony counts of theft for allegedly stealing money from the trust fund of a mentally disabled woman.

As trustee of the fund, Amundson allegedly stole $313,000 between February 1999 and September 2000, according to the criminal complaint.

Amundson will plead guilty to all charges, said Ron Meshbesher, his defense attorney .

“He admits what he did and makes no excuses for it,” Meshbesher said. “It was completely uncharacteristic of him. He is embarrassed, humiliated and extremely remorseful.”

Amundson was appointed to Hennepin County District Court in 1988 and the Minnesota Court of Appeals in 1991. He resigned Monday, Meshbesher said.

According to the criminal complaint:

The disabled woman’s father appointed Amundson trustee of the $623,000 trust in the 1980s. The Minnesota Association for Retarded Citizens was also named a residual beneficiary.

Amundson used some of the money to purchase artwork and home improvements for his two homes and also deposited checks into his personal bank account.

The woman’s conservator and service coordinator became suspicious of Amundson in September 2000 and confronted Amundson with concerns, at which point the thefts ceased.

Afterward, Amundson started to replace some of the money.

He deposited nearly $60,000 of his personal money into the woman’s trust in January 2001 and nearly $22,000 in 2001. Last December, Amundson also deposited $215,000 into the account from funds he borrowed from personal lines of credit.

The conservator and service coordinator filed a complaint with Hennepin County Protective Services in October, and the criminal investigation began shortly afterward.

In other police news:

Minneapolis police are investigating Saturday’s robbery of the Harvard Market West, located at 602 Washington Ave S.E.

No arrests have been made.

The suspect entered the store approximately 7:30 p.m. Saturday and demanded money in a written note, according to the police report.

“This guy was nuts,” said Brad Mateer, Harvard Market owner. “He came in on a Saturday night, a busy Saturday night.”

Minneapolis police Lt. Steve Kincaid said the suspect made a reference to a gun but no gun was displayed.

Police were unable to recover the demand note, he said.

The employee gave the man $150, and he left without creating a scene.

“We train (employees) if they are in that situation to give them the money,” Mateer said. “The life of the person is more important than the money.”

The suspect is a black male, 25 to 35 years old, 5 feet 5 inches tall with a medium build. He was wearing a black or gray hooded sweatshirt and jeans. The man also has a mustache and possibly a beard.

Police are trying to put together a clear picture from surveillance cameras to circulate in the area.

Mateer said Harvard Market West has not been robbed in the six years he has owned the business.

There have been no other similar robberies the area, Kincaid said.

 

A 19-year-old University freshman was charged Thursday with second-degree possession of a controlled substance.

After a random license plate check revealed he had an outstanding warrant, University police arrested Adriane Ronnell Epps on Feb. 20 near the 600 block of Washington Avenue South.

While searching Epps at Hennepin County Jail, a sheriff’s deputy found 13.4 grams of crack cocaine, according to the police report.

The driver of the vehicle matched the description of the registered owner. The officer arrested Epps, according to the report.

Epps is no longer in police custody.