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U of M employee sentenced for stealing and selling university computers

U of M employee sentenced for stealing and selling university computers Photo: KSTP/File

Updated: August 14, 2019 06:04 PM

A University of Minnesota employee who pleaded guilty to stealing university computers and selling them was sentenced Wednesday.

Court records show Michael James McDaniel, 35, of Lilydale, was convicted of two counts of theft by swindle after pleading guilty to the counts in June. Two other counts of theft by swindle were dismissed.

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On Wednesday, McDaniel was sentenced to one year in the Hennepin County Workhouse and eight years of supervised probation. He was also sentenced to one year and one day in prison on one count and 27 months in prison on the other, but those prison sentences were stayed for eight years and will likely be waived as long as McDaniel follows the terms of his probation. He was given credit for one day served at the workhouse, and will be eligible for electronic home monitoring after 59 days.

McDaniel was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $134,622.

University of Minnesota employee charged with computer theft, blames robbers

According to a criminal complaint, a U of M human resources employee noticed a discrepancy in newly-purchased computers involving McDaniel in October 2018. The complaint states it appeared he was buying computers for his department through the university bookstores but not registering them through IT.

When confronted, the complaint states McDaniel claimed he was held at gunpoint by three robbers in September 2017, and they said they'd be in touch with him, and as long as he did what they asked nobody would be killed. McDaniel said they called a few days later and said they wanted merchandise so he started ordering the computers.

Investigation revealed he used the center's account to buy 78 computers worth more than $134,000, and was actually keeping them for himself and selling them online or at pawn shops.

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