Man convicted for making death threats in attempt to extort neighbor


A jury in northwest Minnesota found a Thief River Falls man guilty on three felony charges after he made death threats against a former neighbor and his family members if he failed to deliver a half million dollars.

The Fargo Forum reports 52-year-old Gerald Sunsdahl was convicted on Wednesday of two counts of making terroristic threats and one count of attempted coercion.

The criminal complaint states in June, Dale Hanson told authorities that someone had put a crude hand-written letter in his brother Dean's mailbox in rural Pennington County that was intended to scare the man into giving up $500,000.

“We have stacked out Your Place for 3 months. We Got Your House Buged,” the letter said. “There are 3 guy’s that Are watching You At All Time’s, sharp shooters. We Having your Brother’s Place with 2 Sharp Shooter’s there to.”

The sloppily written letter goes on to say that the victim and several members of his family were under surveillance by a group of “Professal’s” and there would be consequences if anyone went to the police.

The letter instructed the man to put cash in plastic bags and leave them at certain mile markers. Police set up a sting operation where Sunsdahl was arrested.

Sunsdahl remains jailed until his sentencing date on Dec. 16, where a judge will decide whether he'll stay incarcerated. The three charges carry a maximum prison sentence of five years.

Sunsdahl, who has power of attorney over his parents' assets, also faces separate charges alleging he failed to pay taxes on $250,000 he took from his parents’ account that he spent gambling.

Prosecutors said he intended to extort his former neighbor to replenish his parents’ accounts he had drained.

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