MINNEAPOLIS -- A former Minnesota Court of Appeals judge was sentenced Friday to nearly six years in prison for stealing more than $300,000 from a trust fund he oversaw for a mentally retarded woman.
Roland Amundson, 52, stood solemnly as Hennepin County District Judge Richard Hopper handed down the 69-month sentence for five counts of felony theft by swindle.
Hopper refused defense arguments that Amundson stole because he was mentally ill, instead saying the former judge had a "feeling of entitlement."
"His judgment was clouted by the intoxication of his own power," Hopper said.
Amundson must serve at least 46 months of the sentence in prison, with the rest on supervised release. He must also pay a $30,000 fine.
Before his sentence, Amundson apologized to his family, the family of the victim, his law colleagues and the people of Minnesota. "I am deeply, deeply sorry," he said.
State guidelines called for a sentence of four years and nine months in prison, but prosecutors argued for an additional year, citing the victim's vulnerability and the amount of money involved. And Hopper agreed.
"He used his post of trust not only as a trustee but as a judge," the judge said. "There clearly was an imbalance of power here."
Amundson resigned from the appeals court the day before prosecutors charged him in February.
He later pleaded guilty to stealing more than $300,000 between February 1999 and September 2000 from the trust fund of Amy Day, 31, who has the mental capacity of a 3-year-old and requires 24-hour care.
Her late father was a friend of Amundson's and entrusted him with her financial care.
Amundson admitted taking money from the trust fund as far back as 1995 to buy fancy furnishings and art for his two homes, but he could only be charged for thefts in the past three years under the statute of limitations. He has repaid all of the money, sold both homes and bought another.
At the sentencing hearing, Day's family and caregivers called Amundson a predator who used his influence and stature to steal.
"He knew all along what he was doing. He didn't need the funds, he was being greedy, selfish," said her sister, Margaret Lund. "Her father, who respected you and trusted you, gave you his daughter's life."
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.