Former county assessor employee charged with felony forgery

In another case, NB man gets 3 years in prison for assault on utility worker

A former deputy county assessor for Chisago County stands accused of fraudulently altering the records on her own property, thus lowering the property taxes owed on the property, while on the job in 2011.

Catherine Genevieve Arth, 59, of Forest Lake, has been charged with felony aggravated forgery and a second count of recording, filing a forged instrument, also a felony, stemming from an incident on April 15, 2011.

The court complaint was filed on Sept. 24, Chisago County Attorney Janet Reiter said, and Arth’s first court appearance is scheduled for 1 p.m. Oct. 28.

According to the complaint:

On Aug. 7, investigators from the Chisago County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of possible fraudulent activity in the county assessor’s office. There, an employee pointed out a property owned by Arth, who also worked in the office, after explaining the formula in determining property taxes and how a property must be assessed once every five years.

Investigators also learned employees of the assessor’s office have access to the systems that are used to calculate property taxes by assigning a property number to properties in Chisago County.

Meanwhile, another employee reportedly located a fraudulent transaction completed by Arth. The system on April 15, 2011, indicated she had reclassified her own property, contrary to its assessed classification, thus decreasing the property taxes she owed on the property for the 2012 and 2013 tax years, the employee reported.

Throughout the investigation, law officials learned it was common knowledge among all employees of the assessor’s office that they are prohibited from assessing properties owned by them, family members, friends or any properties where a business relationship exists with an employee.

Pedersen case

Travis Dean Pedersen

Travis Dean Pedersen

Travis Dean Pedersen, 38, of North Branch, was sentenced on Sept. 26 to three years in prison for assaulting and pointing a revolver at an electrical worker who was inspecting a power pole at his residence.

Pedersen was originally charged with aggravated robbery and second-degree assault, both felonies, following the May 10, 2011, incident. He was then acquitted of the first and found guilty of the second charge after a court trial in March of this year, Reiter said.

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