St. Paul man who falsely claimed art was stolen avoids jail

  • Article by: DAN BROWNING
  • Star Tribune
  • January 14, 2013 - 9:22 PM

A former management consultant to the Carter Center in Atlanta was sentenced to three years of probation Monday in St. Paul for filing nearly $350,000 in bogus insurance claims for artwork, historical artifacts and household goods that he falsely reported stolen in 2007.

Jason W. Sheedy, 39, of St. Paul, faced 21 to 27 months in prison, according to federal sentencing guidelines. But his attorney, First Assistant Federal Defender Andrew Mohring, argued that Sheedy deserved a break. He overcame a dysfunctional family and abuse suffered in childhood and adolescence to make extraordinary commitments to public service before financial duress pushed him to commit a crime, Mohring said in a court filing.

From 1991 to 2000, he said, Sheedy volunteered more than 11,700 hours as an emergency medical technician. "He has volunteered for the County Rescue Service in Green Bay, the Human Rights Campaign in Minneapolis, and the Hennepin County Medical Center. He is active in Habitat for Humanity and works with disabled adults in the Adaptive Recreation Program of the City of St. Paul Parks and Recreation Department. He has been involved in the activities of the Carter Center since 2004."

Sheedy, who has a doctorate degree in business, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud. Federal prosecutors argued for prison time.

"While the defendant's financial woes were undoubtedly stressful, instead of defrauding two insurance companies, he could have sold his extensive art collection. The defendant could also have filed for bankruptcy or found some other legal way of relieving his financial burden," wrote Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Langner.

U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson placed Sheedy on three years of probation. She ordered him to pay $352,539.58 in restitution and to serve 500 hours of community service.

Sheedy filed a $274,905 insurance claim for the art and historical items with AXA Art Insurance Corp., which paid him $254,832 in January 2008. He collected $93,302 from Farmers Insurance Group in February 2008 for the household goods. He later was caught trying to sell some of the items he had reported stolen.

Dan Browning • 612-673-4493

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