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Former Becker County sheriff agrees to plea deal

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DETROIT LAKES, Minn. – A plea agreement has been reached in the case against former Becker County Sheriff Tim Gordon, who is accused of swindling the public by selling the sheriff’s office a used boat and passing it off as new.

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Under the agreement, which is pending a judge’s approval, felony charges of theft by swindle and making false claims will be dropped, said Assistant Stearns County Attorney Kevin Voss.

Gordon instead will plead guilty to misconduct of a public officer – for making a false document – which is a gross misdemeanor.

The deal calls for a sentence of one year in jail, stayed for two years, during which time Gordon would be on probation.

Gordon will serve 10 days in jail or complete 80 hours of community service work, pay a fine of $900 and pay $7,856 in restitution to Becker County prior to the plea hearing.

He also won’t be able to renew his peace officer’s license.

Voss said the deal is a proposal agreed to by the state and Gordon’s attorney, Paul Thorwaldsen of Detroit Lakes. The agreement will be brought before a judge in Becker County District Court on May 6 for approval.

The criminal complaint filed against Gordon followed a yearlong investigation by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension that claimed Gordon sold Becker County a used boat that he owned and tried to pass it off as new.

The complaint alleges that Gordon sold his boat for an inflated price through the use of false documents that hid his ownership and that he later told investigators he had purchased the boat, motor and trailer with his own funds for more than receipts showed he did.

The complaint states that Gordon said he had about $9,000 invested in the boat, motor and trailer.

Investigators found the equipment to be worth roughly $3,500, while the actual amount paid by the county in the form of a Department of Natural Resources grant was $7,856.

Gordon retired two years ago before the investigation came to light.

To avoid a conflict of interest, the case is being handled by the Stearns County Attorney’s Office.

Paula Quam, Detroit Lakes Newspapers

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