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

He has won jury trial cases in misdemeanor and felony cases and in DWI’s and non-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. He is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

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Involve a criminal appeal attorney soon after you learn the prosecution is appealing your sentence. Your attorney will walk you through the involving and confusing sentencing guidelines. An attorney's involvement will also help you develop a defense strategy for the appeal.