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Hunter Hanson faces criminal charges after checks from his grain trading company were returned for insufficient funds.

Hearing set for Feb. 7 in grain trader's criminal case

STANLEY, N.D.—Grain trader Hunter Hanson of Leeds, N.D., has preliminary hearing and arraignment date Feb. 7 in Mountrail County in which he'll plead either guilty or guilty or not guilty to writing non-sufficient fund checks.

Mountrail County State's Attorney Wade G. Enget filed charges against Hanson on Dec. 3, for issuing a check on Oct. 26, without sufficient funds or credit. A pre-trial conference is scheduled April 4.

Enget alleges Hanson's Midwest Grain Trading wrote a check to United Quality Cooperative for $94,480.41. The co-op is based in New Town with locations in Ross and Parshall. The charges don't specify which of the co-op locations was doing business with Hanson.

The check was deposited but was returned for non-sufficient funds, Enget said. On Dec. 11, Mountrail County issued an arrest warrant for Hanson. The warrant was served on Dec. 11 in Cass County in Fargo. Hanson posted $1,000 in bond money, which is the typical 10 percent of the $10,000 bond.

On Dec. 14, Lucas Wynne of Wynne Law Firm of Fargo, notified the court he was Hanson's attorney in the criminal matter.

Wynne graduated from the University of North Dakota School of Law in 2015 and from UND with a communications degree in 2012. In his online presence, Wynne self-describes as "the attorney you call when you find yourself in the middle of a high stakes case."

Hanson has told Agweek that his Midwest Grain Trading and NoDak Grain tradnames, operated as sole proprietorships, bought and sold some $23 million in grain in the past two years of operations. The companies are based in the Devils Lake area of North Dakota.

The North Dakota Public Service Commission has issued a cease-and-desist order, ending his grain trading, and is asking courts in Burleigh and Ramsey counties to make the agency a trustee for the company. The PSC has received reports of more than $5 million in troubled transactions but would not be able to verify claims until appointed by the court to do so.

Emergency ask

In the criminal case, a bail order required that Hanson, 21, not commit any criminal offense and must not leave the state without permission from the court.

On Dec. 27, Wynne made an "expedited request" to say that Hanson had a trip to the Minneapolis-St. Paul area planned and had purchased tickets to a Minnesota Vikings football game in the St. Paul and Minneapolis areas. Hanson wanted to be gone from Dec. 28 through Dec. 31.

But on Dec. 28, Enget objected, saying that it seemed "ironic" that "a person charged with issuing a Not Sufficient Funds check in the sum of $94,480.41, a Class C Felony, now seeks to spend additional monies on entertainment rather than attending to the matters before the Court."

Later that day, District Judge Stacy J. Louser denied Hanson's request.

Said Louser: Hanson hadn't objected to the terms of the bail and didn't "have the courtesy to inform the Court (and the State) of his pre-arranged trip to Minneapolis when making his initial appearance," and instead sought an "expedited request" after the bail order. "The Court does not view Hanson's lack of timely disclosure to constitute 'good cause' emergency action/intervention by the court," she concluded.