Weather Forecast


Cottage Grove man convicted in fraud, identity theft case

A Cottage Grove man faces a federal prison sentence after he was convicted of using stolen personal information to illegally obtain more than $150,000 from victims.

Jason E. Clark, 40, was convicted Friday in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis. The conviction includes two counts of bank fraud, and one count each of bank fraud conspiracy, identify theft and aggravated identity theft.

Clark collected bank funds from people whose bank routing numbers and account numbers had been stolen. The information was used to obtain fraudulent checks exceeding $150,000, which Clark deposited in his banking account, the U.S. attorney's office said.

According to federal prosecutors, evidence put forward in trial proved that Clark conspired with others between March of 2007 and August of 2008 to illegally acquire the funds.

A co-defendant, Jason R. Hansen of Crystal, stole personal identification and financial information of people who applied for mortgage loans. He obtained the information through his work for a mortgage loan subsidiary company. That information was used to create fraudulent checks and obtain cash.

Hanson and another defendant, Nou Thao of Maplewood, pleaded guilty to fraud charges. They also had conspired with another man, Marcus K. Benson of Maplewood, who was sentenced for stealing more than $483,000 from accounts at various financial institutions.

Clark faces up to 30 years in prison on the conspiracy charge and up to 30 years imprisonment on each bank fraud count. There is a mandatory minimum sentence of two years for aggravated identity theft. The identity theft charge carries a penalty of up to 15 years in prison.

U.S. District Court Judge David Doty will sentence Clark; a hearing date has not been set.

Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

(651) 459-7600