Jones to be sentenced March 4 for eight counts of felony theft

By Denise Lana,

Mindy Jones

After several postponements due to illness and information gathering, Mindy Jones was scheduled to appear March 4 in a Fillmore County courtroom in Preston, Minn., to be sentenced for her December conviction of eight counts of felony theft. 

Originally scheduled for Feb. 12, Jones’ sentencing hearing was delayed due to Jones’ report of suffering a seizure and being admitted to the emergency room of a Waterloo hospital, according to a doctor’s note submitted to the court.

Jones was present at the rescheduled hearing Friday, Feb. 16, but a continuance for sentencing was made for March 4. Due to Iowa and Minnesota law differences, several of Jones’ past convictions that occurred in Iowa needed further scrutiny to ensure the sentence she received in Minnesota fairly and equally reflects the severity of the Iowa convictions. 

The day prior to the Feb. 16 hearing, Jones’ public defender, Milind Shah, received a document from Jones – the note insisted Jones keep her medical appointment scheduled for the same time as the Friday, Feb. 16, hearing. Ultimately, it was discovered that the medical document provided to Shah and the court was a fake. Learning this, presiding Judge Jeremy Clinefelter ordered Jones be held in jail until the March 4 hearing, citing that he felt she was “a danger to the community” and the court could not trust anything she presented. 

The following week, Shah stepped down from representing Jones, and on Feb. 26, Jones requested a hearing, requesting to be released from jail, stating, “I currently have no representation and could be working while waiting for new representation.” 

Assistant Public Defender Graham Henry was assigned soon after to represent Jones, and Judge Clinefelter issued his response Feb. 28, denying Jones’ request. She remained in jail. 

Running consecutively with the sentencing hearing, a pretrial settlement conference was scheduled regarding a separate criminal case in which Jones is charged with committing 33 counts of theft and forgery in 2021. While Jones was living with a man in Cresco in 2021, she allegedly took checks from his mailbox without his knowledge – more than $37,000 worth of checks – and was reported to have deposited that money into her own business and personal bank accounts. 

If a settlement was not reached after press time March 4, a jury trial is slated to begin March 18 at the Fillmore County Courthouse. 

Additionally, Jones is scheduled for her review hearing April 1 in Iowa’s Allamakee County Court on charges of First Degree Arson and Animal Abuse, related to her former business in Waukon which was destroyed by a fire in 2022. Charges were filed against Jones following the results of a full investigation by the Iowa Fire Marshall’s Special Investigators and Allamakee County fire department and law officials.

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