A Colorado man charged in connection with an alleged swindle of a Deer River business entered not guilty pleas in a brief court appearance Tuesday morning.
Fredrick Bradley Kellogg, 59, of Aurora, Colo., entered the pleas before Judge Lois Lang in Itasca County District Court.
Kellogg has been charged with two counts of felony theft in connection with the alleged swindle which occurred in 2010. Court records also state Kellogg goes by the name of Brad Allen Kellogg.
Prosecutor Todd Webb told the court a plea offer was on the table, but Kellogg had until the end of the week to accept the offer. Webb did not state details of the proposed plea agreement. If an agreement isn’t reached, the case will go to trial.
According to the criminal complaint, Gibbs Wild Rice was approached by a man, later identified as Kellogg, with an opportunity to sell $10,000 worth of rice.
Kellogg would create, produce, print and distribute 620,000 four-color coupons and place them in a gift pack which would be given to participants of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure events throughout the United States. Kellogg allegedly claimed the coupons would increase traffic to the business’s website and more than 15 percent of the coupons would be redeemed by recipients.
The complaint stated that his offer was accepted and nearly $10,000 worth of wild rice was shipped to a Chaska, Minn., warehouse. Kellogg also allegedly claimed that he had contacts with wholesale buyers throughout the country interested in their wild rice.
Between April 26, 2010 and July 12, 2010, Kellogg placed seven orders for wild rice, the complaint stated. Approximately 120,000 pounds of wild rice worth nearly $300,000 was invoiced and shipped. Kellogg allegedly never prepared the coupons, nor did he pay for the rice.
Court records show the invoices were sent to a Victoria, Minn., address.
The complaint stated that company officials told investigators that Kellogg repeatedly acknowledged the unpaid invoices and promised to pay each one within 65 days of receipt of a given shipment.
In October 2010, Kellogg informed the company’s owner he had secured a third-party order for 130,000 pounds of broken wild rice, the complaint said. The owner contacted the third party, who denied ever ordering the rice and that he did not want further contact with Kellogg.
Company officials also discovered Kellogg allegedly sold some of the rice far below market value, according to the complaint. They received a request from the general manager of a grocery store chain to purchase more rice at $1.00 per pound. A competitor was also allegedly purchasing rice from Kellogg for $1.00 per pound.
The complaint stated that Kellogg refused to speak with investigators when contacted in December 2010 and referred all questions to his attorney.
In March 2011, authorities executed a search warrant at a St. Paul residence, according to the complaint. The resident stated he was the owner of a sales and marketing firm and had made more than $60,000 of purchases from Kellogg for wild rice. Another search warrant was executed at a Mounds View grocery store. The store manager and an accounts payable clerk stated they purchased wild rice from Kellogg, paying him $10,512 in July 2010 and $10,800 in September 2010.
According to court records, Kellogg made his first court appearance before Judge Jon Maturi on Dec. 19, 2011. Kellogg was released on his own recognizance and ordered to have no contact with Gibbs Wild Rice, remain law-abiding, make all future court appearances and remain in contact with his attorney.
A pre-trial date for Kellogg was set for July 2 and a trial date was set for Aug. 1.