Hopkins woman pleads guilty to stealing $157,000 from estate sale clients
A Hopkins woman, well known for handling west metro estate sales, pleaded guilty to stealing $157,000 from 16 clients, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Friday.
Mary Jane Thompson, 72, admitted Tuesday to fraudulently committing theft over $35,000. Under the plea negotiation, prosecutors requested a sentence twice what is called for in the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines. Specifically, that would be 42 months in prison, but stayed and serving 10 years of probation and 270 days in jail. She will also be ordered to make restitution of uninsured losses to the victims. Thompson will be sentenced June 16.
Thompson defrauded 16 estate sale clients between June 2013 and December 14, 2014. Thompson told at least one victim that she had "borrowed from Peter to pay Paul." However, Assistant Hennepin County Attorney John Halla argued that “The defendant didn’t just rob Peter to pay Paul; she also robbed Matthew, Mark, Luke and John to pay herself. Not one of the clients Thompson victimized has ever been paid the money which she owes to them.”
In nearly every case, Thompson would sign a contract with a client to conduct estate or moving sales. She committed to pay the client 70 percent of the proceeds within 30 days, according to the criminal complaint. However, she never payed anything to these clients.
They called Thompson repeatedly, but as one client said, all they heard was “false promise after false promise, lie after lie,” the complaint states.
A felony charge of Wrongfully Obtaining Public Assistance was dismissed as part of this plea negotiation.