Minnetrista’s Paul Bardine was sentenced to 34 months in prison on Feb. 6 after pleading guilty to three counts of theft by swindle over $35,000 and three corresponding counts of insurance fraud. All six counts are felony offenses.
Bardine was ordered to immediately sign over a $25,000 cashier’s check that was retrieved as part of a search warrant. The judge also ordered the 55-year-old to pay back the $260,987.40 that he stole from four different clients.
According to the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, one of those clients new him for more than 20 years and had more than $100,000 stolen. That money had come out of her late husband’s life insurance policy, according to the press release.
Bardine was arrested in March of 2016 after a criminal investigation was conducted by the Minnesota Commerce Fraud Bureau. According to authorities back in March, Bardine had previously been an insurance agent in Minnesota, but his license ran out in August of 2012.
According to the criminal complaints, the offenses took place between September of 2013 and January of 2015 with Bardine acting as an insurance agent without license. The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office press release stated that Bardine, “swindled four individuals by persuading them to cash in annuities they held and provide funds for a purported investment opportunity.”
Bardine’s lawyers requested a continuance of sentencing date and a downward departure to probation, but that request was denied by Judge Lisa Janzen.