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Bemidji Pioneer 

Downtown Bemidji Dewey Funiture owner charged with six felonies


A 51-year-old Bemidji business owner has been charge in Beltrami County District Court with three counts of felony credit card fraud and three counts of felony theft by swindle.

The charges against Margaret Jo Hirt, owner and operator of Dewey Furniture, 201 Minnesota Ave. N.W., were filed Friday and signed by Judge Shari Schluchter. A court appearance date has not yet been set.

According to the criminal complaint:

Hirt has been the primary sales person for Dewey Furniture since 2008. She conducts most of the sales and is responsible for accepting payment from customers and ensuring furniture is ordered from manufacturers.

In 2009 and 2010, three furniture manufacturers, Ashley Furniture, Inc., Furniture Traditions, Inc. and Best Craft Furniture, notified Hirt they would no longer accept orders from her unless they were prepaid because she had been delinquent in paying for orders.

On Jan. 10, Feb. 15, March 27, April 9, and Dec. 14, 2010, seven customers ordered furniture totaling $11,744 in value. In each transaction, Hirt required partial or full prepayment of the orders, which the customers complied with. They prepaid either with credit cards or from checking accounts. None of the customers received the furniture orders, and none received refunds from Dewey Furniture.

The Bemidji Police Department began investigating the case in 2010. Since then, the Police Department has received numerous complaints from other Dewey Furniture customers about credit card fraud, consumer fraud and theft of money by Hirt and Dewey Furniture. These additional complaints are currently under investigation.

If convicted, Hirt faces maximum sentences of five years in prison and $10,000 in fines on each of the six counts.

RLNN had received one report from a Red Lake member who stated she purchased about $2000.00 worth of furniture in January of this year and never received it.


Reader Comments(2)

RLcommMember writes:

Last year my sister went through all this Deweys furniture. It was paid through payroll deduction and I also notified HR about it and asked them not to allow RL members to use this place for furniture because it was so bad. My sister tried to get her money back too but the Lady said she cant because her furniture was ordered with it. Thank goodness they caught her.

angecharnoski writes:

I ordered furniture from Dewey Furniture in january, 2010 and this lady gave me the runaround for 7 weeks! I finally told her i was going to call someone and see what i could do to get my money back and a couple days later she calls n says my furniture is in and that it wouldn't be delivered until the following week! I had already sold my other furniture a week after i ordered the new stuff! i went down n picked up my stuff, received a $50 refund! I will never go back there!


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