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Judge to issue written decision in LaPean restitution

By LeAnn R. Ralph

MENOMONIE — A Dunn County judge says he will issue a written decision within 30 days regarding restitution in the case of Greg LaPean, the former owner of LaPean Implement in Menomonie.

The Honorable Michael Bitney conducted the restitution hearing in Dunn County Circuit Court August 5 regarding money that LaPean owes to Security State Bank.

A Dunn County jury convicted LaPean in September of 2011 for defrauding the bank by transferring another’s personal property at a value exceeding $10,000 but not more than $100,000.

LaPean, 57, was sentenced in February of 2012 to six months in jail, five years of probation, and 50 hours of community service for each year of probation.

He appealed his conviction to the District III Court of Appeals, and in April of 2012, Judge Stewart ordered the jail sentence stayed pending the appeal.

The District III Court of Appeals upheld LaPean’s conviction in November of 2013.

LaPean then asked the state Supreme Court to rule on the case, but the Supreme Court declined to take the case in February, and LaPean was ordered to report to the Dunn County Jail in April of this year.

According to background information included in the appellate court’s decision, between March and May of 2005, LaPean obtained six loans to purchase farm equipment for resale, and each of the loans was secured by a specific piece of farm equipment.

The six smaller loans were consolidated into a new, longer-term loan in June of 2005.

LaPean stopped making payments to Security Bank after December of 2006, and the farm equipment used for collateral on the loans was liquidated after that.

While the farm equipment was being sold to cover LaPean’s loans, it was discovered that 18 pieces of equipment could not be accounted for, according to the background information included in the appellate court’s decision.

The Dunn County district attorney’s office filed an amended complaint alleging that LaPean had sold or transferred the 18 pieces of equipment between June 5, 2007, and March 6, 2009, with the intent to defraud Security State Bank.

According to the District III Court of Appeals decision, LaPean testified at trial that the secured equipment had been sold between February and May of 2005, although he was unable to recall who had purchased the equipment and could not produce any records verifying the purchases.

Lester Pines, an attorney from Madison who is representing LaPean, said at the August 5 hearing that Security State Bank has agreed to the amount of $100,000 for restitution.

A life insurance policy for LaPean with a value of $750,000 has been assigned to Security State Bank.

LaPean, who served as a police officer in Colfax after he lost his business, is now on work-release from the Dunn County Jail and is driving a truck to haul frac sand.

When asked why he could no longer work as a police officer, LaPean said he is not eligible to work as a police officer because of his felony conviction.

Richard White, an attorney representing Security Bank, noted that the court could order LaPean to pay the full restitution of $100,000 and could order him to pay a certain monthly amount toward the restitution.

Pines pointed out that the court is not obligated to order full restitution and could set the amount at something less than $100,000.

In addition to whatever amount he will end up paying to Security State Bank, LaPean testified that the Internal Revenue Service has determined he also owes over a half a million dollars — nearly $577,000 — in federal taxes.

On the financial disclosure statement that he filed with the court for the restitution hearing, LaPean said he had entered the amount of $3,010 as his net monthly income driving a truck.

The total monthly amount depends on how many loads he is able to haul, LaPean said.

“Greg is maxed out on earning capacity, and the bank has taken all the assets,” Pines said.

The restitution could be symbolic, and the judge could order him to pay $12,000 to Security Bank at $400 per month, he said.

Judge Bitney said he would review the case and would issue a written decision on the restitution within the next 30 days.