Ashley Prasil Added to White Collar Crime Map

You know that mortgage fraud thing I posted about yesterday involving Sheri Delich? Ashley Prasil was involved in it too. As I understand it, it sounds like Ms. Prasil was involved in setting up straw buyers for units in the Cloud 9 Skyflats. So I added her to my white collar crime map.

That’s my 2nd Eden Prairie addition, following Nathan Mueller’s criminal activities ($8.5 million embezzlement).

Sheri Delich Added to White Collar Crime Map

I’ve been slacking on updating the White Collar Crime Map I launched last August. Today, I added Sheri Delich after she pled guilty to wire fraud and money laundering tied to the Cloud 9 Skyflats travesty in Minnetonka. That’s the third addition for Apple Valley, which was also home to Trevor Cook ($190 million in currency fraud) and Connie Hanson (Embezzled $1 million in Veterans Funds). On a per capita basis, I think that puts Apple Valley in the lead on a per capita basis.

In Jennifer Bjorhus’ report at the StarTribune, Bjorhus reports that Delich’s lawyer is going to fight for lenience in the sentencing by arguing that Delich was a “minor player”.

That doesn’t seem to correlate with the facts, as I understand them.

Delich was the mortgage broker, which means she was the one who controlled the money. She was the one would could have said no. Or, as Delich’s lawyer concedes, “[Delich] said she did what Trooien told her to do” which means that, rather than doing her job, she committed wire fraud and money laundering.

Is the Hi-Lake Target a Magnet for Bad Shoplifters?

There is an interesting discussion happening over on the City-Data forums about how the heck the Longfellow Neighborhood managed to have 142 crime incidents (PDF) in the first quarter of 2011. That does seem a bit high.

Before getting into that, as a reminder, Minneapolis has two areas called Longfellow. One is the Longfellow Neighborhood which represents an area just to the SE of Hiawatha & Lake. The other is the Longfellow Community, which includes the Longfellow Neighborhood, along with three other neighborhoods: Cooper, Howe, and Hiawatha. Together, the wedge of land from Minnehaha Falls between the Mississippi and Hiawatha Ave up to the Midtown Greenway is the Longfellow Community.

In this case, the City-Data discussion is talking about the area to the east of Hiawatha & Lake. As they discuss, the area has 103 larcenies in the first quarter of 2011. That’s around 1 a day. Larcenies are petty theft. This isn’t being people mugged or having their homes broken into. It’s more often shoplifting, or having a bike stolen.

So, why does that neighborhood have such high larceny rates? Target. Lots of people are caught shoplifting there. Notice the concentration of larceny locations (the other marker is for a car that was broken into):

Longfellow Neighborhood Crimes
Other C4 Offenses”>C4 Stats for 3rd Precinct

Which, to me, is one of the quirks of crime stats. People shoplift at stores all over the place, but Target seems to be particularly good at catching shoplifters. Because of this, the crime stats at Target’s are likely much higher than other areas where shoplifters have more success.

For those interested in lowering the crime stats, one idea would be to stop stealing from Target. Another option would be to follow these tips on how to steal from Target. Or, apparently, you’ll have more success if you time your visits to when no Targetrons with confrontation authority are on the clock.

The How to Steal from Target link claims that Target has a “no chase” policy. Based on the people I’ve seen chased out onto Lake Street before being tackled, that may not apply to our local Target store.

Marley Danner Added to White Collar Crime Map

I’ve added Marlon Danner of 8314 Delaney Circle, Inver Grove Heights, MN to the White Collar Crime Map for Minnesota that I’ve been maintaining.

I found this comment on Pioneer Press’ piece about the FBI’s charges against Danner by someone posting under the name “Rice St” particularly interesting:

Danner is a Good old Boy, Started out with a Dump truck and worked like a Dog to get his Class Act Company built to what it is today.

I have nothing but RESPECT for this Man and anyone else that has a drive to achieve what he did on his own with ‘No Government hand outs’, Just Sweat, Blood and a swamp.

Danner employes a lot of people, and a lot of these people have families to feed and Danner cares about everyone of them..

That’s a strange take on Marley Danner, in light of the FBI’s case outlining he was working on a government contracts, pocketing money from the projects that was – contractually – meant for his workers, called out on pocketing money that was not meant for him, then defrauding workers out of settlement money. From the FBI’s press release:

Authorities subsequently investigated Danner’s compliance with the truck rental rate and determined he had underpaid the drivers. In February of 2010, MnDOT reached a settlement with Danner regarding the underpayment. As part of that settlement, Danner agreed to pay more than $185,000 to approximately 27 truck drivers and arranged for checks to be provided to MnDOT for distribution to those drivers. MnDOT mailed the checks out on March 2, 2010.

On February 27, 2010, however, Danner allegedly telephoned many of the drivers, instructing them to return the settlement funds to him. He purportedly told the drivers MnDOT had made a mistake in concluding they were underpaid. Thus, the funds they were about to receive were not theirs to keep.

It sounds like he was caught stealing money owed to his employees . . . twice. The same money . . . twice. Strange.

Danner has previously run unsuccessfully for State Representative Seat 39B as a Republican, picking up 30.66% of the votes in 2002.

What the Deal with Hunter Drive in Medina, MN?

Here’s a street worth noting if you’re interested in white collar crime: Hunter Drive in Medina, Minnesota. That street has been home to at least two white collar criminals who’ve stolen tens of millions of dollars.

David H. McCaffrey is the most recent. I’ve added his property at 1475 Hunter Drive to my white collar crime map. It’s currently for sale. You may recognize the name of his neighbor: Denny Hecker, who lives at 1492 Hunter Dr in Medina.

It looks like Charles J. Chapman, III has been living down the block. He’s the COO of Dairy Queen and sits on the board of Panera. That seems very legit, so he may be the exception. His house, at 1502 Hunter Dr, is on the market too. Maybe he’s looking for some better neighbors?

With a population of just over 4,000, Medina must have one of the highest concentrations of white collar criminals in the state. Other notable residents are mentioned on Medina’s Wikipedia page, but the notable criminals are currently absent.

Visualizing Minneapolis’ Murders

Jeff Severns Guntzel is doing some interesting work with the murder data in the City of Minneapolis. After aggregating much of the publicly available data surrounding each murder and putting it into a Google Fusion Table, it’s relatively easy to get a feel for what’s happening when, where, with what, and to whom.

For example, he has a map of the murders to date for 2010. Unfortunately, the way that particularly perspective is presented on MinnPost is a bit misleading, since it crops off much of the city of Minneapolis where no murders have happened (from 34th St to the southern border of the city, from the Mississippi River to France Ave S, so around 20 sq miles worth of murder-free neighborhoods.)

Since the data has been made available in a Google Fusion Table, others can hop in and parse out additional perspectives on the data. Here are a couple examples I thought up:

Murders by Police Precinct

Minneapolis Murders by Police Precinct (2010 Thru Nov 4th)
Find precinct map here.

Murders by Time of Day

Minneapolis Murders by Time of Day

A justification for curfews?

A Free Parking Ticket in Urbana, IL

City of Urbana Parking Ticket

I parked at a meter in downtown Urbana, IL, stopped into an awesome BBQ place for lunch, then walked back out to fill the meter. The meter’s cost? 25 cents per hour. I threw in a 2nd quarter just for fun. How long can it take to have lunch?

Well, it turns out that in the time between when I parked and when I acquired quarters, I received a ticket. I didn’t realize that until I went back out to my car – eyes watering from the heat of the BBQ sauce I chose – to find a ticket under my wipers.

But, check out that photo: the ticket is for $0.00!

$0.00?

This has to be some sort of a trick.

If I don’t pay nothing now, there is no additional charge for paying nothing later. But, what if I don’t pay nothing ever? That seems like the sort of thing that could get Luke Hellier hot and bothered. He could honestly say that I didn’t pay a parking ticket while conveniently forgetting to mention that the parking ticket was for $0.00.

What are the chances that Avis will get a notice about this $0.00 ticket, decide to pay it for me, then charge me a $25 convenience fee?

I have a hunch that this won’t be the last I hear about my trip to Urbana.

Craigslist Concentrates Crime for Cops

Mike Masnick has a piece up on Techdirt talking about the ridiculousness of the 17 state attorney generals who are attempting to shut down Craiglist’s Adult Services category. Masnick’s take on this is that law enforcement officials that are interested in actually preventing crimes should use Craigslist to their advantage rather than push Craigslist’s advertisers to other advertising platforms that may be less cooperative with law enforcement.

The theory here is that Craigslist concentrates advertising for criminal acts. Rather than have to seek out criminals, Craigslist does a fine job of corralling a large segment of advertisements for illegal services on their website. If law enforcement wanted to crack down on crime, they could:

1. Contact the site’s advertisers and arrest people who are committing illegal acts.

2. Contact Craigslist and ask them for contact information of advertisers .

3. Post ads to the site, telling advertisers that they’re being watched and providing a number they can use if they’re interested in getting out of the business.

I’m sure there are other things that would work too, if the goal was to solve a problem.

However, what the 17 state AGs are doing instead is attempting to shut that section of the site down. Does anyone believe that will somehow stop crime? Clearly, that’s just a losing game of whack-a-mole since the web’s site is infinite.

As I think about this, I think the problem here (beyond AGs bloviating for press) is the application of offline solutions to online problems. If a particular corner or street is notorious for prostitution, a crackdown on that street can, indeed, solve that street’s problem, and cities tend to have a finite number of streets where streetwalking prostitution has any chance of cropping up, so the problem really can be solved with this tactic. Of course, it really just pushes it to other advertising venues, but it does solve a street level qualify of life problem for people living in the certain neighborhoods.

Online, that simply will not work. There are an infinite number of streets and corners on the web, so there is no chance of winning by shutting down the one that happens to be the most popular today. Worst case scenarios include pushing advertising from a law enforcement cooperative Craigslist over to a site hosted outside the United States.

One positive here is that Minnesota’s AG, Lori Swanson, has not joined this Craigslist bashing game. I hope Swanson and her office are focused on solving issues rather than bloviating about symptoms.




Adjusting MPR’s Minneapolis Homicide Map

MPR has been doing a great job maintaining a Google Map of Minneapolis’ 2010 homicides. Here’s the map, as they present it on their site:


View 2010 Mpls. Homicides in a larger map

Each marker links to a story they’ve done related to that homicide. This is an excellent way to help people access archived content that may be of interest to them.

However, one issue I have with this map is probably being caused by Google Maps’ default settings. The map zooms in to show only the sub-section of the City of Minneapolis where homicides occur. A person looking at the above map may get the impression that nearly every neighborhood of Minneapolis has been a site of a homicide in 2010, which is nowhere near the case. Google, by default, automatically centers and selects a zoom level to fit the data set, so doesn’t take into account that this is an attempt to tell the story of a city.

To adjust this, click the “Customize and Preview Embedded Map” link, select the width and height you’d like to use, then adjust the zoom level and centering to create a map that includes the entire city. In this case, zooming out one level does the trick pretty well. Embedding that view of the map creates this perspective:


View 2010 Mpls. Homicides in a larger map

We can now see that Minneapolis has been homicide-free south of 35th Street, which represents a huge portion of the city’s population.

This could be improved further by adding a city boundary.

It’s a great start. A few small tweaks should help the data tell a more accurate story of the city.