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River Falls man charged with bank fraud

A River Falls man was charged earlier this month in Pierce County Circuit Court with multiple felonies, including bank fraud for over $100,000.

Steven Mark Rinker, 45, 128 Emory Dr., No. 3, is scheduled to make his initial court appearance at 10 a.m., Monday, April 28. Besides the bank fraud charge, he is accused of two theft charges, receiving stolen property greater than $10,000, two counts of forgery and criminal slander of title. All seven charges are felonies.

According to the criminal complaint:

In late August, River Falls police were contacted by officials from First National Bank, as they had questions dealing with one of their customer accounts.

The police investigation found Rinker became friends with the victim in 2009 as he was moving out of a neighboring apartment complex into a house of his own. Rinker offered his assistance and even asked whether or not his family could live with the victim, which he refused. Eventually, Rinker came to the victim’s house on a daily basis and obtained the key to the victim’s post office box, and would collect mail for him.

“The (victim) now feels that Mr. Rinker was ‘buttering him up for the kill’ and that Mr. Rinker is a con artist,” the complaint states.

Rinker was even appointed power of attorney for the victim in January 2011, in which Rinker could use the victim’s finances and property to benefit Rinker with either verbal or written permission from the victim to Rinker. The victim told police he has no memory of signing the power of attorney, as he was in-and-out of the VA hospital during that time. Furthermore, he did not believe he needed one, and if he did, he would appoint a sibling. Upon seeing the document from police, he revoked it immediately.

The complaint alleges, with the power of attorney in hand, Rinker took advantage.

In March 2011, acting as attorney for the victim, he applied for and was granted an $185,500 mortgage from CapWest Mortgage Corporation, located in Kansas. A title insurance company was hired out of Pennsylvania and their workers told police they had no contact with Rinker or the victim.

A traveling for-hire notary public met with Rinker later that month at the River Falls Public Library to finalize the deal. Rinker was present for the closing, but the victim was not, which seemed odd to the notarian.

The victim was unaware of this mortgage until police informed him last August, as he told police he paid for his house with his own funds and a loan from First National Bank.

“(The victim) never consented to Mr. Rinker taking out a mortgage against his home or gave Mr. Rinker permission to do so,” the complaint states.

The complaint further alleges, between 2011-2013, Rinker used online transfers or handwritten “starter” checks, totalling over $100,000 made out to him, which he endorsed and deposited into his own bank account. The victim told police he did not give Rinker permission to issue any of these checks or deposit any of these checks and, furthermore, no permission was granted to paying Rinker the amount or him keeping that amount.

The victim told police when he needs money, he withdraws it in cash in person from the teller at First National. He uses auto-pay and money order to pay his other bills.

Jason Schulte

Jason Schulte is a reporter for the New Richmond News since February 2015. Prior to that he spent eight years at the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth. His duties with the News will include covering news out of Hammond and Roberts along with action from St. Croix County court system. He lives in Roberts. 

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