A University of Minnesota professor made national news in September when he was convicted of providing his wife with several forged papers as part of their divorce. These documents reduced the stated size of their retirement account from the actual amount of $891,116 to $745,012. He omitted the fact that there was a second retirement account. All told, the wife would have lost about $353,649 if she had not notified the police that he was providing false numbers.
The judge handed down the sentence
The professor was sentenced on November 9 to four months in the workhouse and four years probation. If the 57-year-old man completes his probation, then the three felony charges that the jury convicted him of will change to misdemeanors. The Hennepin County District Judge also fined him $30,000.
The prosecution had asked for a three-and-a-half year prison sentence because the defendant committed the crimes over an extended period. According to court records, the prosecution said the defendant’s “conduct was a tapestry of lies and greed.”
The professor also faced gun charges because he purchased 14 handguns after the criminal case had begun – it is illegal for those charged with a felony to possess firearms. These charges were suspended after he agreed to a $500 fine and to sell the guns. He also needs to have no additional weapons charges for one year.
Other fallout from the crimes
The professor of electrical and computer engineering lost his position as director of the university’s Technological Leadership Institute. He remains on staff and will research and write, but he is not teaching any classes. The university said it might make additional changes, depending on if the professor appeals the court’s ruling and the matter becomes final.
A cautionary tale for all
Some would say that four years probation and four months in the workhouse is a light sentence. They may be right, considering what the prosecution was seeking. However, the biggest issue for the professor is that his employment and reputation are now in jeopardy. The fact that he was trying to “protect” his nest egg led to quite the opposite, he lost a larger chunk of it and now will have a harder time replenishing it.