Inside the Life of Career Con Man Gale Rachuy in Minnesota


In her LinkedIn profile picture, Gale Rachuy looks like a fun grandpa with a big white mustache on his handlebars and a wry smile. The 72-year-old poses in front of a shelf of law textbooks and claims to be CEO of Midwest Legal Service, based in Duluth, Minnesota.

However, according to an indictment filed in mid-December, Rachuy is not an attorney and has never been. Law enforcement say Rachuy posed as a lawyer who ran his own firm and defrauded at least one of his clients out of $2,500. He is indicted on his one count of wire fraud.

This is not Rachuy’s first rodeo. According to the judge who sentenced him in 2012 in interstate transportation of stolen automobiles, he has committed acts of fraud and deception over his 40-plus years as a “white-collar professional criminal.” is typical.

According to the Duluth News Tribune, he has been indicted in at least 56 criminal cases since the 1970s, including more than 90 counts of theft and fraud in Minnesota.

For the past 44 years, Rachuy has not spent more than a year out of prison, according to incarceration records reviewed by The Daily Beast.

Despite this, he claims he is not a fraudster.

“I am (not a con artist),” Lachui told the Duluth News Tribune in an interview from prison in 2011.

Although he has spent much of his life in prison, he never stopped fighting the authorities who put him in prison. Using his self-taught legal knowledge, Rachuy has filed at least 113 of his lawsuits himself, as well as about 50 federal lawsuits, often with law enforcement officers and victims. , against the prosecution’s attorneys.

He told newspapers that his lifelong conviction was due to a twisted justice system and that he was the victim of a systematic effort by local and federal law enforcement agencies.

“It’s your past that keeps blaming you,” he said.

Law enforcement officials disagree.

“He’s definitely a problem,” St. Louis County Sheriff Ross Littman told the newspaper in 2011.

Gale Rachuy was 23 when he was first convicted. That was in 1973, when he was convicted of providing forged checks. It was the beginning of his life in and out of prison.

In 1990, while in St. Louis County Jail on felony theft charges for failing to pay for commercial equipment delivered from two Duluth stores, he called a dealer to order $11,000 worth of furniture. It is said that Rachuy arranged for it to be delivered to his Duluth estate, but he told the furniture dealer that he could not receive the furniture in person because he was caring for his sick mother. star tribune that year.

The salesman happened to read a newspaper article about Rachuy’s other fraud charges and realized that he had probably been duped. At the time, Rachuy was awaiting a theft conviction stemming from a false promise to build a log home, and he was facing further theft charges in two counties.

The dealer called Verne Swanam, then assistant county attorney, and told him there was no way Lachuy would receive the furniture. “He’s in jail right now!” Swannham told him over the phone.

Aerial view of Oak Park Heights, Minnesota Correctional Facility.

U.S. Geological Survey/Wikimedia Commons

By that time, Rachuy had already gained notoriety in his home state. Oak Park While he was incarcerated at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Heights, he petitioned to change his last name to “Johnson,” but the trial court denied his request. Duluth News Tribune.

“He said his name is famous because of his criminal record and he believes that no one in this system in Minnesota knows him.

By 1997 Rachuy had star tribune In an interview at Stillwater Prison, he said he spent 30 of his 47 years in prison.

That same year, the state banned smoking in prisons, and Rachuy was among a small group of inmates who tried and failed to take legal action to stop the ban. Rachuy told the newspaper that he was going through severe nicotine withdrawal, but prisoners hid stashes of cigarettes throughout the prison.

After being released from prison in 2000, Rachuy continued to commit crimes. After that year, he was convicted of multiple thefts by forging checks and fraud.

When Ross Littman became sheriff of St. Louis County in 2003, Lachuy was a household name among law enforcement. Littman said he was posing as someone who worked for a legitimate bail bond company. Duluth News Tribune.

“This is the history of this guy carrying out some kind of plan,” Littman said at the time.

It was in 2005 that Rachuy was first convicted of “unlicensed juristic acts.” He practiced legal work under his trade name, Midwest Legal Services, issuing business cards and contracts, and billing clients, according to a list of evidence viewed by The Daily Beast.

For the next five years, Rachuy was in and out of prison under state and federal law enforcement supervision. He also ran a lumber business, but authorities suspected him of criminal activity. According to court documents viewed by The Daily Beast, he was questioned by police in Minnesota and Wisconsin in 2006 for a “suspected pattern of criminal activity.”

In May 2007, Rachuy was jailed for several counts of forged checks and one count of theft for fraud. Prosecutors at the time said Rachuy deposited three of his forged checks totaling over $100,000 into an anchor bank account in North St. Paul. St Paul Pioneer Press.

Again, Rachuy refused to accept the sentence handed down to him by the court, instead taking the law into his own hands.

He appealed his conviction, claiming on his own behalf that he had been denied his constitutional right to counsel. The conviction was overturned.

When Rachuy was retrialed on the same charges in 2010, he pleaded guilty to all charges and was sentenced to 50 months in prison. But he said two years later, Rachuy appealed again and police destroyed evidence in the case. The district court denied his petition. Again, Lachui appealed the decision, which was upheld by the Court of Appeals, according to court documents seen by The Daily Beast.

When he was retrialed in 2010 on charges of forging checks, Rachuy had an old ruse in action.

That summer, Rachuy went to Duluth Lawn and Sport to select utility vehicles, lawn mowers, leaf blowers, trimmers and mowers and arrange for them to be delivered to his home, according to court documents seen by The Daily Beast. Did. Rachuy paid the delivery driver with a check for over $14,000 because his bank account was closed two months before his.

Rachuy represented him in the three-day jury trial that followed. On May 12, 2011, he was found guilty of issuing bad checks and sentenced to five years under the state’s “professional offenders” law, which allows longer prison sentences for defendants with a criminal record. was sentenced to imprisonment.

Rachuy was defiant in post-trial interviews. Duluth News TribuneHe planned to appeal the conviction, he said. When asked what he plans to do if he wins the appeal, Lachuy told the newspaper:

A reporter asked what he meant.

“Hopefully… I hope I never get out of prison,” he said. “For what? Are you going to turn back and file more charges against me?”

Soon after the lawsuit ended, Rachuy was put on trial in Wisconsin on federal charges of purchasing a vehicle with fraudulent checks and transporting it for sale across state lines.

Rachuy pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 7.5 years in prison.

No heavy sentence seemed to deter him.

Upon his release from some form of federal prison in 2017, Rachuy was again convicted of issuing fraudulent checks. On July 8th and 9th, 2017, Rachuy made a purchase from Midwestern chain Fleet Farm. Rachuy he was sentenced to 90 days in prison.

Rachuy was released from federal prison in May 2020. For a short time he escaped conviction. Instead, he filed lawsuits against others.

The following year, Lachui sued the landlord for fraud. He claimed he had misrepresented a rental property in Morgan Park, Minnesota as habitable when in fact he had been accused, Rachuy said in a suit that he would not move if he knew. said he didn’t.

The lawsuit also alleges that one of his landlords entered the building with Rachuy’s consent and contained a large amount of seafood, including 120 trout, 4 lobsters, 8 pounds of shrimp and 40 pollock. Blame it even for unplugging the freezer. Rachuy claimed the seafood was worth him over $1640.

Rachuy also claimed that the landlord failed to secure the door to the building, lost $5,000 in what Rachuy said was a $20,000 worth of canned goods and a collection of 800 Zippo lighters, and was robbed multiple times. .

The case was still going through court when Rachuy was arrested for his latest criminal getaway.

Since March 2022, Rachuy has advertised himself as an attorney, according to an indictment filed in federal court. He claimed to potential clients that he has run his own firm, Midwest Legal Service, for his 38 years and employs seven attorneys. In fact, the company was a scam designed to enrich his Rachuy, prosecutors allege. One of his victims paid his $2,500 retainer to Rachuy to help with post-conviction proceedings, according to the documents.

The victim’s name is not listed in the indictment, but the story is consistent with that provided to the Duluth News Tribune by James B. Mitchell of Fayetteville, Arkansas. Mitchell told the paper that he hired Rachuy and paid him a down payment, but worried he had been scammed. Rachuy never turned over the legal papers promised and never refunded Mitchell’s original payment.

“He lies to the victim that he is a lawyer, but in reality, he never even graduated from law school. His only legal knowledge is the many federal and state It was obtained by spending time in the prison’s law library for the past 50 years, having been incarcerated for his entire adult life,” Mitchell told the newspaper.

Rachuy has been charged with one count of wire fraud. He is being held without bail at the Douglas County Jail. While in prison, his attempts to contact Rachuy were unsuccessful.

Rachuy, 72, has spent her life in and out of prison, but time in prison has not deterred her from continuing to commit crimes. He has spent almost his 50 years of his life tied up in the criminal justice system.

Rachuy now faces up to 20 years in prison for wire fraud. He could be 92 years old before he’s released, giving him one last chance to get his ways right.



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