Minn. Man Accused of Swindling Neighbors Out of $700K

May 8, 2006

A southern Minnesota man has been accused of swindling his neighbors out of more than $700,000 and counting.

The criminal complaint alleges that for 21/2 years, Dale Eugene Schlichting, 48, accepted checks or money orders for his business DSI Agency in Hayfield.

The complaint said Schlichting would tell clients he was investing the money or opening an insurance policy, but the money instead would go into a bank account under his name, and no policies were created or investments made.

He lost his insurance license in October 2003, according to the criminal complaint.

“Our investigation has revealed that he was selling insurance and unregistered securities to senior citizens and promising a high rate of return. It appeared to be a Ponzi scheme,” said Patrick Sexton, a spokesman for the Minnesota Department of Commerce’s Fraud Investigation Unit.

Officials suspect that some victims might have lost tens of thousands of dollars through the scam, Sexton said.

Schlichting was arrested in Brownsdale while authorities took paperwork, files and computers from his business in Hayfield.

He’s charged with theft by swindle and two counts of insurance fraud. The Dodge County Attorney’s office says the case will probably be turned over to federal authorities because of the amount of money involved.

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