Mankato man swindles prospective mobile home buyers 16 Feb 12

A Mankato man is facing charges after attempting to swindle three separate parties who were under the impression they were purchasing a mobile home.

Douglas Holmgren, 43, of Mankato advertised the sale of his mobile home on Craigslist in May of last year. Gary Woratschka, Jr. said he responded to the ad and agreed to purchase the 1989 trailer for $6,700. Woratschka gave Holmgren a $100 down payment the day they met and later brought Holmgren a $4,000 check and another $2,600 in cash. A purchase agreement was signed and Holmgren agreed to move out by July.

It turns out Woratschka wasn’t the only person who responded to the Craigslist advertisement. Two other people told Mankato police they each paid Holmgren for the same mobile home, according to a criminal complaint filed in Blue Earth County District Court.

One of those people, Kenneth Carson, told police he agreed to pay Holmgren $6,000 for the mobile home and moved the home to Winnebago, but court records show Carson never received a title.

The other alleged victims, Wayne and Robyn Chew, of San Diego, showed investigators a purchase agreement saying they bought the mobile home for $5,500. They also agreed to pay property taxes Holmgren owed for 2009 through 2011. They turned over copies of their purchase agreement as well as their copy of the title for the home and a check they provided to Blue Earth County Taxpayer Services.

Woratschka says he was told that Holmgren “made off with almost $20,000,” but that he would get his money back through restitution.

Holmgren has been charged with two felony counts of theft by swindle. He’s scheduled to make his first court appearance for the charges on March 1.