MONTEVIDEO -- A 59-year-old Granite Falls man was arraigned Monday on multiple charges of theft by swindle for allegedly selling farm lubricant products but never delivering the goods to the buyers.
Charles Curtis Lynner faces a felony count of theft by swindle in both Yellow Medicine and Lac qui Parle counties and a gross misdemeanor charge in Chippewa County.
He also faces a gross misdemeanor charge of driving after cancellation-inimical to public safety in Chippewa County.
His next court date has not been set.
According to the Yellow Medicine complaint, law enforcement officials were informed by citizens that they had purchased Conklin Company products from Lynner in June and July and had not received any part of their orders.
The citizens reported writing the checks to Lynner and not the company, for $412 and $2,100, and that delivery was promised within two to three weeks. One of the citizens reported that Lynner made himself out as the company dealer of the products during the transaction.
On Aug. 26, officers interviewed Lynner, who allegedly said it was his intention to deliver all of the products by late September. Lynner claimed that he was not a distributor for the company, but that he bought his product from a Paynesville man. Later he stated he worked for Conklin and received a straight commission.
The next day, a company official informed law enforcement that Lynner was not, nor had he ever been, an employee of the Conklin Company.
Lynner had a relationship with the company that was terminated in 1986, according to Conklin risk manager Anita Whittington. She said Wednesday that the complaints from customers about Lynner's actions are focused within a 60-mile radius of his home and that the company is referring those complaints to law enforcement.
The company is also urging those affected to contact their local authorities.
The Yellow Medicine complaint also states there are active investigations in Renville and Lac qui Parle counties.