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Sex Offender release
In accordance with Wisconsin State Statute 301.46(2m) it has been determined that the attached information on Kyle McCarty should be released to the local media. Mr. McCarty will be released from Prison on February 20th, 2018 and will be returning back into the community and placed on supervision administered by the Wisconsin Department of Corrections.
Conviction: On October 16th, 2007, Mr. McCarty was convicted of Child Sexploitation - Employ, Use, Induce, violating Wisconsin State Statute 948.05(1)(a) in Polk County Court Case 07CF079. The offense occurred in February 2007 and involved the offender taking nude pictures of an underage male victim with the intent to sell the pictures on the internet. The offender was also charged with four counts of Felony Intimidate Witness/Person due to threatening his victim while the offender was awaiting sentencing.
On March 7th, 2017, Mr. McCarty was convicted of Possession of Child Pornography, violating Wisconsin State Statute 948.12(1m) in Polk County Court Case 15CF429. The offense was discovered in June of 2013. The offense involved the possession of a cellular phone with pictures and videos of adolescent males.
Release: On February 20th, 2018, Mr. McCarty will be released back to Polk County, which was his county of residence at the time of his conviction. He will temporarily reside at 977 US HWY 8, at the Apple River Country Inn, until a suitable permanent residence is found. He is to be supervised by Agents from the Wisconsin Department of Corrections – Probation and Parole Office in Balsam Lake. For further questions or concerns please contact Corrections Field Supervisor Nichole Strom at 715-716-6268 or Sex Offender Registration Specialist Amy Jain at 715-416-4175. Mr. McCarty will be on supervision with the Wisconsin Department of Corrections until May 28th, 2028.
Upon release, Mr. McCarty will be placed on the Intensive Supervision Program and will subject to the Wisconsin Department of Corrections Global Positioning System (GPS) for his lifetime. Mr. McCarty will be required to register with the Wisconsin Sex Offender Registry Program for life. The Wisconsin Sex Offender Registry can be located at www.widocoffenders.org.
WARNING: It is not the intent of the Legislature that this information be used to injure, harass, or commit a criminal act against persons named in the release, their families, or employers. Anyone who takes any criminal action against the registrant, including vandalism of property, verbal or written threats of harm or physical assault against these registrants, their families or employers is subject to criminal prosecution.
Hit and Run leads to woman’s death
By Lynda Berg Olds
It was Friday evening, Feb. 9 at 6:35 p.m., when Polk County Dispatch received a report of a “car versus pedestrian” – a hit and run. The caller said a woman was lying in the street at the intersection of Highway 46 and Keller Avenue, near Central Street – and the vehicle had fled the scene.
Amery Police were dispatched and upon arrival the officers were advised that an adult woman was crossing Keller Avenue from west to east when she was struck by a vehicle being driven southbound on Keller Avenue. The driver briefly stopped and got out of his vehicle. He removed the victim’s purse and scarf from the hood of his car, handed it to the witnesses – and left, telling the witnesses that he would return.
But he did not.
He headed southbound from the scene. Witnesses were able to provide a good vehicle description and even a complete (and accurate) Wisconsin license plate number. The vehicle was described and identified as a Green 2001 Saturn, registered to Michael George, 59, of Altoona. An ATL (Attempt to Locate) was promptly put out for the suspect vehicle.
Meanwhile, the pedestrian was identified as Lisa Allen, 50, of Amery. She was promptly transported to Amery Regional Medical Center via ambulance - and then immediately transferred by air ambulance to Regions Hospital in St. Paul with a major head trauma - and she was listed in critical condition.
The suspect vehicle was later located in Woodville at a hotel just off Highway 94 and contact was made with George. In interview, George admitted to hitting the lady, but claimed he was lost and did not know how to get back to where the accident occurred. He stated further that he could not see out of his windshield due to the damage that happened in the accident. He denied drinking prior to the accident, but said he had two beers after the accident.
George blew a .11 and agreed to a blood test as well. He was taken into custody for OWI – Second Offense and Hit and Run Causing Injury. George was then booked-in to the Polk County Jail.
On Feb. 12, the Ramsey County Medical Examiner advised that the victim, Lisa Allen, died of injuries sustained in the crash. The sheriff said charges were likely to be upgraded to Hit and Run causing death – and indeed they were – to a Felony D Hit and Run Involving Death.
George, who remains in custody, was in the Honorable Judge Dan Tolan’s courtroom on Monday, with attorney Donna Burger, where a $10,000 cash bond was set.
The Amery Police Department was assisted in the incident by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Woodville Police Department, St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office, Amery Fire Department and the Amery Ambulance Service.
The incident remains under investigation.
If a Hit and Run incident involves great bodily harm, it is a Class E felony, with imprisonment up to 15 years, a $50,000 fine or both. With a death, it is a Class D felony, with up to 25 years in prison, a $100,000 fine or both.
Luck woman sentenced to prison for forgery
Scott C. Blader, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Sarah McKenzie, 41, of Luck, was just sentenced by U.S. District Judge William Conley to one year and one day in federal prison for making a forged security. Her prison sentence will be followed by two years of supervised release. McKenzie pleaded guilty to this charge on Oct. 30, 2017.
McKenzie worked at Core Products International in Osceola, Wis., as Accounts Manager and Human Resources Director. In August of 2016, employees in Core Product’s accounting department examined company bank statements and discovered company checks bearing duplicate check numbers that were either written to McKenzie or written to “Cash.” The employees also noticed that the checks written to McKenzie were signed in CEO Royce Keehr’s name but the signature did not appear to be genuine.
The subsequent criminal investigation, along with an internal company audit, revealed that between 2006 and August 2016, McKenzie generated approximately 305 company checks written to herself or to “Cash” and then forged Keehr’s name on the checks. The total amount of these checks was $291,436.
In addition, between 2011 and August 2016, McKenzie generated 98 company checks to “Cash” which she signed, endorsed, and negotiated at a bank. There was no documentation in the company’s books and records to support the creation of the checks. The total amount of these checks was $105,205.
Bank records show that McKenzie spent the majority of the stolen money at casinos or on psychic hotlines. In sentencing McKenzie, Judge Conley noted that her criminal conduct was “outrageous” and was troubled by how long the embezzlement continued.
The charges against McKenzie were a result of an investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Polk County Sheriff’s Office, and Osceola Police Department. The prosecution of the case has been handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron Wegner.
Man charged after alleged sex with minor
By Paul Rignell
An Osceola man, 21, is charged with second-degree sexual assault of a child after an incident report from a female minor, age 14.
A police investigator went to Osceola Middle School on the morning of Feb. 22 to meet with the teen girl and her mother. The girl reportedly said that between 2:00 and 8:00 p.m. Feb. 18, she met and interacted with the suspect, Gaspar Juan Gaspar, at his home in the Robo Village manufactured housing community.
The teen said she had met the suspect once earlier at another location in Osceola, and she added that she knew he worked at a restaurant in the village.
The girl said that at Gaspar’s home, she and the suspect began to kiss in a living area before going to a bedroom where she said they undressed and had intercourse.
The teen told police that she had reminded him of her age at two different moments, while he allegedly gave his age as 23.
Police asked the teen if she had refused consent at any time. According to a probable cause report issued by Polk County, she replied that she did not refuse consent.
She stated that the suspect wore a condom. She said she knew the suspect as “Steve,” but that she believed it was not his real name.
The teen and her mother told police that they were going to the Osceola Medical Center for an examination. The investigator reportedly provided a victim information sheet, and obtained a medical release consent form.
Police reportedly learned that Gaspar was one of two restaurant workers living at the Robo Village address on Seminole Avenue with the restaurant owner’s parents.
In the early afternoon of Feb. 23, police contacted the restaurant owner outside of that business. An investigator requested identification for Gaspar and the other worker reportedly living with the business owner’s parents.
The business owner shared two scans of the workers’ Guatemalan consular photo IDs, and said the workers had been employed at the restaurant for about two years.
After blocking out all data from the IDs except for the photographic images, police returned to the middle school for another interview with the teen.
Police heard from the girl that the condom worn by the alleged suspect had broken during intercourse. When she expressed a concern over getting pregnant, he allegedly replied with laughter and reportedly said, ‘you’re already mine.’ The teen said she examined herself at the scene and determined that with the condom tear, the suspect had ejaculated inside of her body.
The girl said that she got dressed and exited the bedroom, after which the suspect reportedly tried to calm her worries.
Still concerned about a possible pregnancy, the teen reported the incident to a school counselor.
Accompanied by an interpreter to allow communication with Gaspar, police went to the restaurant around 4:00 p.m. Feb. 27 to meet with the suspect. He agreed to go with them to the police station for an interview in a conference room.
After hearing his Miranda rights translated in Spanish, the suspect reportedly agreed to questioning.
Gaspar allegedly said he had met the teen at a gas station in Osceola. He reportedly asked for her name and phone number, and she shared that information. The suspect allegedly said he remembered that the female once told him she was 14.
He allegedly admitted that he did have intercourse with the teen. He estimated the time of her visit at 6:30 p.m. Gaspar alleged that the teen initiated the move of their interaction to his bedroom.
The suspect gave police consent for two swabs for DNA collection, after police produced a search warrant.
Police arrested and handcuffed Gaspar. They transported him to the county jail. He remained in custody there as of March 7.
Present in court that morning with defense counsel and an interpreter, Gaspar entered a plea of not guilty to the charge.
A pre-trial conference is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. April 27.
Unidentified Bones Update
An initial report has been given to the Sheriff's Department from the University of North Texas Center of Human identification Forensic Anthropology Unit in reference the bones recovered on Dec. 3, 2017 south of Barron.
A profile has been built and the bones are likely from a white or possibly Asian male between the age of 35-55 about 5'8 + or -4 inches. The subject also has a gunshot wound to the head area.
The next steps, over the next couple of months, will be to find and remove DNA and upload that information to the Unidentified Humans Remains index and the CODIS Missing Person Data Base. This will be completed by this same unit in Texas.
At this time we have no missing person cases in the county and will wait for results to come back from the DNA analysis.
Per Chris Fitzgerald, Barron County Sheriff
"After all these years, still doing a great job!!" -Ron Hermanson
Scam alert in local area
Recently, Royal Credit Union has seen an increase in card skimmers that have been showing up on financial ATMs and gas station pumps throughout this service area and beyond, widespread throughout the country.
Unfortunately, they have found four skimmers on Royal Credit Union ATMs, located in Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire and New Richmond. Fortunately, they have the exact time frames, and cardholders affected, who have already been in contact with. Royal is working with local law enforcement as are other financial institutions that have experienced similar fraudulent activity in recent weeks.
They want to emphasize that security is incredibly important and additional steps have been taken to secure and frequently monitor ATMs, and this is being taken very seriously by local law enforcement, as well. Also, starting on April 3, they are adding extra security to ATMs by placing an anti-skimming device on them.
More information on skimmers: a skimmer is a device that is placed directly over the slot where one inserts a card into an existing ATM or card reader machine (like those found when one pays at the pump, for example). These machines, paired with a tiny camera, gather card and PIN number information for fraudulent purposes.
When a card is put into a machine with a skimmer device attached, the machine isn’t the only thing reading the card information – the skimmer also has a reader in it that records the information on the card’s magnetic strip.
However, the magnetic strip information alone isn’t enough - the fraudsters need a PIN. That’s where the mini-camera comes in: As soon as a card is inserted the camera is activated and it records finger movements – and, therefore, the PIN.
In most cases, one is still able to go through transactions as if nothing has happened. Or, in some cases, the screen will tell one there’s been a malfunction – but it will look like a normal error message from the bank. It’s only later that the information the skimmer gathered will be used to access the account.
Protecting information: the first thing to make sure of when using an ATM is to look closely. Does it look like there’s a piece of metal or plastic around the card reader that could easily come off if you pulled on it? Is there a pinhole in a piece of equipment right above the keypad? Does anything wiggle? If one has any funny feelings, don’t use it. It’s also never a bad idea to cover one’s hand as one is typing the PIN into the keypad. Without the PIN, there’s a much bigger hurdle to climb over to get at one’s money. Also, recommended is to review one’s accounts daily for any suspicious activity, and contact the bank right away should one suspect anything.
Cellphone scam close to home; reports of stolen bank accounts and identities
A new nationwide scam that targets smartphone users has reached the Twin Cities.
Tina Anderson of Shakopee was on her cellphone Monday when her service dropped. She received a text message, thanking her for joining MetroPCS — but Anderson has T-Mobile.
She went directly to MetroPCS, who told Anderson that her phone number had been ported, or transferred over from T-Mobile that day.
The scammers had already gained access to her bank account and Capital One account. Within an hour, scammers had transferred all her savings to her checking account, changed the name on her bank account and changed her Capital One information. Luckily, Anderson caught it in time.
“If I had not been so quick, I would have had to fight to get money back,” Anderson said. “If I had been doing the dishes, it might be a different situation.”
Anderson called her bank and Capital One and changed all her passwords for her other accounts. A T-Mobile supervisor was able to get Anderson’s phone number ported back to her cellphone Tuesday.
A victim of this scam in Apple Valley was not as lucky and lost money, according to Dan Hendrickson, spokesman for the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota.
“It’s a bit eye-opening,” Hendrickson said. “Even I’m kind of like, wow, this is a new one, and a really dangerous one.”
It all starts when a scammer acquires one’s name and phone number, then tries to gather other personal information. They then contact mobile provider, pretending, and report phone as stolen. They request the number be ported over to another provider and device.
Once one’s number is ported, scammers can start accessing accounts that require a one-time code via text message to authenticate identity.
Victims of this scam, called “cellphone porting” or “port-out scam,” may not know this has happened until they notice their cellphone has lost service or when they receive unexpected text messages, like Anderson.
Get in touch with cellphone provider and set up a unique pin or verification question to answer before anything can be authorized. Ask specifically about porting and/or port-out security on account.
If phone unexpectedly switches to “Emergency Calls Only” mode, contact the wireless provider immediately. This means phone number could have been transferred to another phone. Report this to the police and contact bank, as well.
Watch out for alert messages from banks or financial institutions, and unexpected texts in response to authentication requests not initiated.
BBB encourages one to take steps to recover your identity and file a report on BBB ScamTracker if one has experienced this type of scam, and to help get the word out to others.