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Continued: Judge gives Bixby figure 10 years

  • Article by: JENNIFER BJORHUS , Star Tribune
  • Last update: August 1, 2013 - 9:16 PM

Collyard said little when he was asked if he wanted to address the court. “Only God knows what’s in my heart,” Coll­yard said.

Guilty plea disowned

Collyard had tried earlier to wrangle free of his guilty pleas by claiming bad lawyering, and then claiming he was groggy from prescription pain medication after his eye surgery. Both efforts failed.

On Thursday, Assistant U.S. Attorney David MacLaughlin argued for a stiffer sentence, saying Collyard’s costly efforts to reverse his guilty plea amounted to obstruction of justice, but the judge declined.

Collyard still faces tax evasion charges and is scheduled to be sentenced on that later this month in Hennepin County District Court.

A civil case the Securities and Exchange Commission brought against several Bixby players, including Collyard, is ongoing.

The Bixby venture, meanwhile, is comatose.

The company’s founder and CEO, Bob Walker of Anoka, faces charges of mail fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy as well as tax evasion. Walker, 70, is best known as the founder of the mattress company Select Comfort.

Walker allegedly ran Bixby as his own personal piggy bank from 2001 to 2011, while misrepresenting the coal gasification technology, cheating investors and a Chinese-owned business partner out of more than $40 million. He faces charges of mail fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy as well as tax evasion.

Walker has pleaded not guilty; his trial is scheduled for January.

Melanie Bonine, who ran Bixby’s payroll and is Walker’s daughter, according to court documents, was charged in July with filing a false tax return in 2009. Her arraignment is scheduled for later this month.

 

Jennifer Bjorhus • 612-673-4683

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