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Sheriff's Department Takes Family's Home and Contents Using a Fake EvictionTim King Salem-News.com
Theodore Visner and Kathy Smith are having trouble getting their story out...
(MT. PLEASANT, MI) - (New report and video about Ted Visner: Police Attempt to Turn Tables Against Michigan Crime Victim Ted Visner)
U.S. Navy veteran Ted Visner and his wife, Kathy Smith of Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, have been living out a nightmare. It started two and a half years ago, when the family fell victim to an apparent real estate scam by a local sheriff's department employee.
Ted Visner says they bought their former home on a land contract, only to learn seven months later, that the seller, Isabella County Sheriff's Dept. employee Shelly Sweet, was not making monthly payments on the house. A bank foreclosed on the property, all unbeknownst to the Visner/Smith family.
Ted Visner, who builds custom homes for a living, said, "Although we were paying Sweet every month on the purchase of the property, she had not been paying the underlying mortgage and the home fell into foreclosure." I asked Visner if he had records of those payments, he said he does, including canceled checks. You won't believe what happened next.
"On a weekend Sweet knew that we would be out of town, she offered the contents of our home to her friends and coworkers at the Isabella County Sheriff’s Department, claiming we had abandoned the home. Many took her up on her free offer deal and took over $55,000 dollars worth of our personal property."
$55,000 is a big number, but Visner said Sweet availed all of their personal belongings and private property to anyone who would take it. Visner tells Salem-News the items taken included beds, dressers, appliances, his wife's wedding dress which was hermetically sealed, kids toys, sports equipment, and a whole lot more.
"My kids couldn't play or participate in sports for the next two years. Other items that disappeared included tax records... nothing has been recovered."
The story seems blatantly criminal in nature, with police banding together to help off their property in its entirety. Visner said, "She just put a sign out and let anybody have what they wanted, she didn't remember who was there. In her own deposition she admits to giving our stuff away."
Visner says Sweet told her employer, the sheriff's department that Visner and his wife weren't making payments, while Visner is able to prove via canceled checks to Sweet that they were indeed paying. "It was blatantly untrue," Visner added. "There is no evidence to support what the county did, it all shows what we are saying though."
He says the experience has been extremely hard for his family, adding, "I don't have any criminal background, I served six years in the Navy on submarines, my wife and I have kids, we don't deserve this, nobody in the world deserves this."
Visner, Smith and their kids, returned from their weekend away on Monday September 27, 2010, to discover that they were locked out of their own home. Visner called the law enforcement agency that Sweet worked for.
"We had NOT been evicted nor had we abandoned the property. The woman had convinced friends and coworkers that we had never paid her, and that were trashing the house and had forced her into foreclosure -- none of which were true."
It would take a day before the family was allowed to go back inside of the home, and that is when Smith and Visner learned that 95% of the home's contents had been stolen.
"A sheriff deputy named 'Steinert' came to our home three times that day and only assisted his coworker while the under-sheriff, sheriff and PA refused to help us after they recognized the totality of the situation," Visner said, adding that the "situation" was 6+ coworkers of Sweet having entered their home and receiving stolen property, which for anyone else in the world is Theft.
Instead, Visner was arrested for "Misuse of 911" on the deputy's third visit. "The county investigated the crime for almost four months and during this time, I moved my family out of Isabella County for safety, I could not move with them because my indefinitely delayed arraignment still loomed over my head."
Visner says after losing the home he shared with his family, and 95% of their belongings to the sheriff's department, that the prosecutor's office ignored their complaints and still refused to investigate "their employees". In his words, "Over two and a half years have passed now with law enforcement officials doing nothing except covering for one another."
Visner says the underlying crime was the conspiracy to deprive his family’s constitutional rights - that is a federal crime during the commission of which, he asserts that he was kidnapped (arrested) by Deputy Steinert on the "bullshit charge" of misusing 911. Violation of Title 18 U.S.C. §§ 241 and 242 is a federal felony crime where the offenders could be sentenced to death if killing or kidnapping occur.
Visner says the following people participated in the crimes against his family.
"Our story needs to go viral, people need to know that they have to stand up for their rights, when we stop standing for our rights we won't have them anymore." He concluded that statement by adding that you only have rights when people in positions of authority listen.
"The Attorney General is dismissing this serious crime... For my family and I, there is no recourse, at least not yet. The AG prohibits complaints of police misconduct and civil rights being violated. I just wrote a letter to the ACLU and explained this, I haven't heard back from them yet," Visner said.
Salem-News attempted to reach Isabella County Sheriff Leo Mioduszewski, he has not returned our call in regard to the Visner case. An employee of the sheriff's office told Salem-News that the agency does not have a public information officer.
Is it possible to receive an "F minus" as a public safety agency? If so, based on the above information, that is definitely the grade the Isabella County Sheriff's Dept. in Michigan deserves. You can draw your own conclusions, but these cops appear to take law enforcement corruption and government misuse of power to all new levels.
A small donation will go a very long way for this family as they continue to put their lives back together! The family would like to offer you their sincere appreciation for your contribution!
Learn more, visit: Visner4Sheriff.com, or call Ted Visner at 989-954-2814.
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With almost 25 years of experience on the west coast and worldwide as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor, Tim King is Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. His background includes covering the war in Afghanistan in 2006 and 2007, and reporting from the Iraq war in 2008. Tim is a former U.S. Marine who follows stories of Marines and Marine Veterans; he's covered British Royal Marines and in Iraq, Tim embedded with the same unit he served with in the 1980's.
Tim holds awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing from traditional mainstream news agencies like The Associated Press and Electronic Media Association; he also holds awards from the National Coalition of Motorcyclists, the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs; and was presented with a 'Good Neighbor Award' for his reporting, by the The Red Cross.
Tim's years as a Human Rights reporter have taken on many dimensions; he has rallied for a long list of cultures and populations and continues to every day, with a strong and direct concentration on the 2009 Genocide of Tamil Hindus and Christians in Sri Lanka. As a result of his long list of reports exposing war crimes against Tamil people, Tim was invited to be the keynote speaker at the FeTNA (Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America) Conference in Baltimore, in July 2012. This is the largest annual gathering of North American Tamils; Tim addressed more than 3000 people and was presented with a traditional Sri Lanka ‘blessed garland’ and a shawl as per the tradition and custom of Tamil Nadu
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