Minnetrista man pleads guilty to theft by swindle and insurance fraud

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

A Hennepin County District Court Judge has sentenced a Minnetrista man to prison for swindling more than $260,000 from his clients, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Tuesday.

Paul Bardine, 55, pleaded guilty in late September to three counts of theft by swindle over $35,000 and three corresponding counts of insurance fraud. On Monday, Judge Lisa Janzen sentenced Bardine to 34 months in prison and ordered him to pay his four victims a total of $260,987.40 in restitution.

Around $30,000 will be paid immediately as Bardine was ordered to sign over a $25,000 cashier's check that was seized as part of a search warrant. The judge also authorized the Dept. of Commerce to release an additional $5,000 that was seized.  

According to the criminal complaint, Bardine was formerly a licensed insurance agent, but his license became inactive in 2012. Between September of 2013 and January, 2015, he swindled four individuals by persuading them to cash in annuities they held and provide funds for a purported investment opportunity. One of the victims, who had known Bardine for more than 20 years, was swindled out of more than $100,000, which was money she had received from her husband’s life insurance policy when he passed away.

In her impact statement she said Bardine “made money off my investments for 20 years and then when he fell on hard times, he stole everything from me… I have had many sleepless nights and my days are filled with fear and anxiety of what the future will hold. The thought of retirement has become a distant memory for me.”

Judge Janzen denied a request from Bradine’s attorney for a continuance of the sentencing date and also a downward departure to probation.

Criminal Complaint (PDF)