Former county sheriff to plead guilty in boat switch

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The former Becker County sheriff will avoid time behind bars by pleading guilty to a gross misdemeanor.

The Bemidji Pioneer reports that former Becker County Sheriff Tim Gordon was facing felony charges of theft by swindle and making false claims. Instead, he will plead guilty to misconduct of a public officer, a gross misdemeanor.

Gordon, 58, of Detroit Lakes was accused of swindling the public by selling the sheriff’s office a used boat and passing it off as new. The criminal complaint alleged that Gordon passed off his old boat for a new one and sold it to the county for an inflated price through the use of false documents that hid his ownership. Investigators found the boat, motor and trailer to be worth roughly $3,500, while the county paid $7,856 for it. The boat was purchased with a grant from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Gordon retired abruptly two years ago in the middle of his term before the investigation came to light. He had served as sheriff in Becker County for ten years and had been with the department for 34 years.

The deal calls for a sentence of one year in jail, stayed for two years, during which time Gordon would be on probation. KFGO in Fargo added that Gordon would also pay a $900 fine, more than $7800 in restitution and forfeit his peace officer's license for life.

A judge will consider the plea agreement on May 6 in Becker County District Court.

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