Man receives supervised probation, community service sentence for theft by swindle charges

Court records show a Minneapolis man has learned his fate after being convicted of two charges of theft by swindle earlier this year.

David Abele, 54, was sentenced to three years of supervised probation for each charge during a hearing Tuesday. The sentences will be carried out simultaneously.

In addition, Abele must also do 500 hours of community service work during those three years.

Abele originally pleaded not guilty to the charges in January of 2020, when he was accused of withholding money from a charitable organization to pay off his personal debt. However, he entered guilty pleas to both charges in May, avoiding a jury trial.

As previously reported by 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, a criminal complaint states Minneapolis police were contacted by the founder of Smile Network International on Jan. 9. A victim’s will stated that Smile Network was supposed to receive 50% of the estate, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office said.

RELATED: Plymouth man charged with theft for taking funds from victim’s estate

While it initially received about $1 million in cash and then got a check from the estate for $250,000 in 2014, Abele then told its board that the estate had been liquidated and the remaining assets were tied up in the victim’s restaurant holdings.

Police reviewed the victim’s financial records and saw Abele was withdrawing money from the estate’s checking account after telling Smile Network that everything had been liquidated.

The attorney’s office said the investigation revealed Abele took $85,500 from the estate.

On June 20, 2016, Abele admitted under oath during a divorce proceeding that he took money from the estate to help him with his personal debts, the attorney’s office and criminal complaints said.