Police accuse former Minnesota Viking of identity theft

Vikings fans in Minneapolis may remember Michael Bennett, the Vikings first-round draft choice in 2001. For five years, Bennett entertained fans as a running back, but now he is the subject of a federal investigation on identity theft. Though police have said that he’s confessed to his criminal charges, it is not entirely clear that he had a chance to speak to his attorney before talking with police.

The 33-year-old ex-Viking was arrested in April when FBI investigators claim that he altered a financial statement that said he had $9 million. Agents have said that Bennett was trying to get a $200,000 loan from a financial services store that was being staked-out by the FBI. The former Viking entered the store with a bank statement that apparently said he had $9 million of collateral. The statement did have his name on it and officers claim that Bennett immediately confessed to altering it.

The Star Tribune reports that the moment Bennett tried to collect the loan, he was arrested and confessed. It is unknown, however, if Bennett was read his Miranda rights and whether he realized that he had the ability to consult with an attorney before talking with police. Everyone who is taken into custody has the right to ignore police questioning and keep quiet. They also can interrupt any interrogation and request an attorney and officers must respect these wishes. The problem is, not everyone knows they have these rights and so an arresting officer is supposed to remind suspects of them.

When they don’t, it is sometimes possible for a confession to be thrown out. In this case, it remains to be seen what will happen with Bennett’s supposed confession.

Source: Star Tribune, “Ex-Vikings running back Bennett jailed in ID theft,” Paul Walsh, May 1, 2012

Max Keller has won countless jury trial cases involving misdemeanors and felonies, sex crimes, and DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. Max is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

Years of Experience: Approx. 20 years
Minnesota Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: State of Minnesota Minnesota State Court Minnesota Federal Court 8th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals State of Maryland

What to Do If You Have Been Charged with a Criminal Offense

Confidential informants may provide integral information to help build criminal investigations, but how reliable is that information when they are receiving payment for their services? To protect them, state law requires the identity of informants be kept confidential. For those facing criminal charges, however, this creates challenges in questioning the accuracy and validity of the information given at trial.
Stay calm and compose after getting accused of a crime but not charged in Minneapolis, MN. Do not discuss the facts of your case with anyone, including your relatives and family members. Hire a criminal defense attorney with a demonstrated record of winning cases like yours. Your attorney will discuss your rights, guide you on how to cooperate with law enforcement within the legal boundaries, and build a solid defense strategy to fight the charges you could face in the future.
Expungement and sealing of records in Minnesota affect how your criminal history appears to government agencies and the public. The main difference between the two legal actions is that expungement permanently removes past arrests, criminal charges, or convictions from private and public databases, while sealing hides the criminal record from the public. Courts, government entities, and law enforcement agencies can access sealed criminal records.