Hennepin County mortgage fraud trial ends with a mistrial

  • Updated: October 3, 2008 - 9:55 PM

A jury deliberated more than three days on the charges against Susan Newell. Prosecutors say they will retry her.

A mistrial was declared late Friday when a Hennepin County District Court jury said it was unable to reach a verdict after more than three days of deliberations in an alleged mortgage fraud ring.

Susan E. Newell of Minneapolis was charged with a dozen counts of theft by swindle and one of racketeering. Prosecutors intend to try her again.

Her alleged partner, Edward L. Boler, is to be tried in January. The cases were separated by a defense request to District Judge Lloyd Zimmerman shortly before the trial began.

In his closing, defense lawyer Gary Bryant-Wolf said prosecutors failed to show Newell had an evil mind, despite 85 prosecution exhibits and thousands of documents. "Everything she did out in the open. Everything she did in black and white. That's not what criminals do," he said.

The prosecution grew out of an arson finding by county investigator Glen Miller after a house burned in January in Brooklyn Center. Miller found that the property was one of six in foreclosure and one of seven that had been purchased in a short time by Brian White.

That led investigators to Demetrius Winston, who bought five properties in a two-week period. They say that Newell recruited the buyers and that Boler obtained mortgage loans based on fraudulent applications. Newell, Boler and each buyer split the proceeds resulting from obtaining a mortgage greater than the property's cost, according to a complaint.

Prosecutors charge that Boler and his U.S. Mortgage Investments Richfield fraudulently obtained loans totaling $2.8 million on 12 properties, eight of them in Minneapolis and one each in Richfield, St. Paul, Champlin and Brooklyn Center.

ROCHELLE OLSON

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