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Emily Welker, Published December 05 2013

Ex-West Fargo investment broker wants sentence reduced for financial fraud

FARGO – A former West Fargo investment broker sentenced to a decade behind bars for bilking 19 clients out of much of their retirement money is asking a judge to reduce his sentence.

Robert Medhus, 66, filed a motion Nov. 26 in Cass County District Court asking for a reduction of his sentence on 16 counts of theft and securities fraud, all Class B felonies.

Each charge carries with it a maximum 10 years behind bars.

Judge Frank Racek sentenced Medhus in August to 10 years on each count, all of which Medhus is serving concurrently.

In his motion, Medhus’ attorney argued that his client’s case had many factors that mitigated its seriousness.

Defense attorney John Goff also wrote that no other local financial criminals accused in similar cases, including embezzlers, have been sentenced to as much time as Medhus was. Medhus also had no prior criminal convictions, Goff wrote.

“The ten year sentences are unduly harsh based upon his age, remorse, mental and physical health, and inconsistency with similar cases,” Goff wrote.

Medhus pleaded guilty to all 16 charges after prosecutors accused him of taking investors’ money for his own use instead of investing it, and creating false or exaggerated financial statements for the investors on papers bearing the letterhead of Medhus’ company, Associated Financial.

Court documents filed in the case against Medhus state he took about $900,000 from his clients, at least one of whom died before the case came to a close.

Some victims who spoke at Medhus’ sentencing told the court that they had known and considered Medhus a friend all their lives.

Charging documents said Medhus was entrusted with the retirement money of one couple since 1995, although he is only charged with defrauding his clients since 2007.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Emily Welker at (701) 241-5541