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Former Becker County sheriff charged with swindling county in boat case

Longtime Becker County Sheriff Tim Gordon, who resigned abruptly two years ago, has been charged with swindling the public out of money by passing off his old boat as an expensive new one purchased for his department.

Gordon, 58, of Detroit Lakes, was charged Friday in Becker County District Court with one count of theft by swindle and one count of presentation of a false claim by a public officer, both felonies, and one gross misdemeanor count of misconduct by a public officer.

The criminal complaint against Gordon follows a yearlong investigation into a boat bought by the Becker County Sheriff’s Office with grant money the department received from the state Department of Natural Resources.

The complaint says Sheriff’s Department employees became suspicious about the boat, trailer and motor purchased in 2012 for the department when they appeared to be old and of poor quality, and not worth what the county had paid.

A deputy for the department told investigators he had seen the boat at Gordon’s property in 2011.

The complaint alleges that Gordon sold his boat to Becker County for an inflated price and through the use of false documents that hid his ownership.

Significant delays in one portion of the law enforcement investigation were the primary reason it took so long to file charges against Gordon in this case, according to the Stearns County Attorney’s Office, which is prosecuting the case for routine conflict of interest reasons.

Gordon’s first court appearance has been set in Becker County District Court for Jan. 27. He is not currently in custody.

(DL Newspapers reporter Nathan Bowe contributed to this story)