Duluth Businessman Convicted of Felony Theft Granted New Trial
The Minnesota Court of Appeals has overturned a felony theft conviction against a former Duluth businessman accused of cashing around $800,000 worth of checks mistakenly sent to him by the Minnesota Department of Revenue.
The appellate court issued the decision Tuesday, granting Kevin Owens a new trial.
The three-judge panel ruled that the district court gave improper instructions to the jury during the trial.
The incident stems back to March of 2008, when the Minnesota Department of Revenue mistakenly issued two checks made payable to Owens’ company, Owens Yacht Sales.
The checks were in the amounts of $560,980.12 and $221,982.06.
The Minnesota Department of Revenue notified Owens of the mistake and repeatedly requested for the money to be returned.
According to the criminal complaint, Owens refused to return the money and spent nearly $800,000 over several months.
Owens was originally charged with theft of lost property, failure to pay over state funds, failure to pay income tax, and failure to file a tax return.
Only the theft of lost property charge was submitted to the jury. The other charges were dismissed.
A jury convicted Owens and the district court placed him on probation.
It’s unclear at this time when a new trial date will be set.