On July 26, 2016, T.R.M. came into the Crosby Police Department and spoke with Crosby Lieut. Kevin Randolph. T.R.M. stated that he wanted to disclose a number of illegal actions being taken by JAMES JESSE HUNTER in Crosby, Crow Wing County, Minnesota.
The first allegation made by T.R.M. was the theft of $90,000 from T.R.M. by HUNTER via a lien placed on T.R.M.'s home. T.R.M. stated that sometime during the last week of June 2016, T.R.M.'s wife, CANDICE ANN MCCARTAN and JAMES HUNTER approached him about buying one of HUNTER's businesses. The name of the business is BUY SELL TRADE, located at 2 East Main Street in Crosby, Minnesota. CANDICE had been employed by HUNTER at this business for approximately two years.
HUNTER explained to T.R.M. that purchasing and owning the store would be a good source of income for T.R.M. and his wife, and it would help them repair credit problems that the two of them had. HUNTER led T.R.M. to believe that the store generated between $8,000 and $12,000 per month in income.
CANDICE did not dispute this information when it was presented to T.R.M.. Since CANDICE had been employed there for two years, and was integral in the accounting of the business, T.R.M. believed the income estimate to be true. HUNTER told T.R.M. that the sale price for the business was to be $45,000. HUNTER explained to T.R.M. that he (HUNTER) would handle the financing of the sale through a lien on T.R.M.'s house located in Crosby.
Approximately three days later, T.R.M. was notified to meet with CANDICE in the office of C.B., which is located inside of the Unity Bank in Crosby. C.B. was the attorney selected by JAMES HUNTER to handle the “closing” of the sale of the business. When T.R.M. arrived, CANDICE was already in C.B.'s office, and both she and HUNTER had already signed the sale documents. T.R.M. was directed by C.B. where to sign each document, but he (T.R.M.) was given no information as to what it was he was signing.
Shortly after signing the documents, T.R.M. was notified that a $90,000 lien had been placed on his home. When T.R.M. asked HUNTER why the amount had doubled, HUNTER explained to him that the price included $45,000 for the business, and $45,000 for the building. T.R.M. expressed concern to HUNTER about the amount of the lien, but HUNTER told him not to worry about it, as he had no intentions of taking T.R.M.'S home and with $8,000 - $12,000 a month of the store's income he (T.R.M.) would be able to pay off the lien easily.
Approximately a week later, during the first week of July 2016, CANDICE MCCARTAN told T.R.M. that she was leaving him and moving in with JAMES HUNTER. Upon hearing this, T.R.M. engaged in a verbal argument with CANDICE in the BUY SELL TRADE store at 2 East Main Street, Crosby. HUNTER became involved in the argument and told T.R.M. he would need to leave the premises.
T.R.M. told HUNTER that he could not kick him out of his own store.
At this time, JAMES HUNTER told T.R.M. that he did not own the building, and stated that in fact, HUNTER still owned it. T.R.M. was shocked to hear this, believing that he had paid $45,000 for the building. Several days later, HUNTER requested and was granted a Harassment Restraining Order (HRO) against T.R.M. , preventing T.R.M. from returning to the store.
When T.R.M. was going through divorce proceedings against CANDICE, T.R.M.'s divorce attorney reviewed the sale documents for BUY SELL TRADE that T.R.M. had signed. The attorney explained to T.R.M. that what he had actually purchased was the inventory of the store, several computers, the cash register, and the ATM machine. T.R.M.'s attorney estimated the actual value of the purchase to be between $5,000 and $7,000.
R.F., a previous employee of BUY SELL TRADE – stated that during the six months she worked for BUY SELL TRADE, she regularly witnessed JAMES HUNTER place cash out of his own pocket into the businesses cash register. She also repeatedly heard JAMES HUNTER and CANDICE MCCARTAN openly discussing that the business regularly lost money. Shortly before the sale to the MCCARTAN's, R.F. heard HUNTER exclaim that he would most likely need to close the store down in the near future due to the financial drain it caused on his other business entities. In addition, R.F. stated that HUNTER paid her (R.F.) “in cash” out of his personal checking account. After the MCCARTAN's purchased store, R.F. requested to be put “on the books” so that she would not incur tax problems. R.F. was told by CANDICE MCCARTAN that the store could not afford to do that.
E.N., daughter of T.R.M. and CANDICE MCCARTAN stated that approximately a week prior to HUNTER approaching her father, T.R.M., regarding the sale of the business, her mother CANDICE MCCARTAN made statements to E.N. that led E.N. to believe that CANDICE and HUNTER were having an intimate relationship. When E.N. asked CANDICE MCCARTAN why she was telling her this, CANDICE replied that she just wanted her daughter to know.
Several witnesses observed Hunter playing pull tabs inside BUY SELL TRADE. It is illegal for a business owner to play or claim prizes in their own establishment. HUNTER was observed using his own cash to purchase tickets and would get others to claim the prizes using their driver's licenses. Following her arrest, CANDICE MCCARTAN confirmed HUNTER plays pull-tabs in BUY, SELL AND TRADE and uses other people's driver's licenses to claim the prizes. One witness, H.K., stated she was sitting outside the store when HUNTER approached her and asked to use her license. Her daughter was employed in the store so she thought he needed it regarding the employment. HUNTER returned and gave her $20 and her license back. She later learned he used it to claim a $500 prize.
Another witness advised he regularly played in a group of 2-5 people with HUNTER. Prizes were split between the group and they took turns using their licenses to claim prizes, except HUNTER who was not allowed to play in the store. He estimated around $20,000 in winnings during the past year.
N.M. reported that after his mother moved in with HUNTER, he saw them parked in front of BUY SEE TRADE in HUNTER's vehicle on 9/24/2016. N.M. approached the vehicle and talked to his mother through the driver's side window, she was in the passenger seat. The conversation became argumentative and he observed HUNTER draw a pistol from the center console, hold it in his lap pointed at N.M. with his finger on the trigger. N.M. was afraid he would be shot so he quickly got into his vehicle and left.
Search warrants were executed on HUNTER's home, BUY SELL TRADE, his bank, his cell phones and his vehicle. Inside the console of the vehicle they located the pistol described by N.M.. They also located another semi-automatic pistol in the store. The pistol had been reported stolen. They also located 54 firearms in the residence, including multiple guns in various locations in the house. The ATF has been contacted to check the backgrounds of the firearms. They also located $31,855 in cash in the residence and $9000 cash in his vehicle. HUNTER had told his wife never to deposit the money in the bank.
HUNTER also owns a used vehicle lot. R.F. advised she had purchased a vehicle from Hunter and he charged her a $400 fee to cover financing and document fee. Minnesota Law only allows a document fee of $75 for each transaction and HUNTER does not have a finance license and cannot charge interest on a loan. Five bills of sale were provided to Crosby PD prior to the search warrants being executed. In each bill of sale, HUNTER charged the $400 fee.
The investigation into this matter is ongoing with information being sent to MNDOR, ATF and the GAMBLING BOARD.
Witnesses have expressed fear that Hunter or his associates in the community will harass or intimidate them when he learns who they are. They are requesting that he not be allowed to contact them, their families or their residences. Hunter is also known to travel frequently outside the State and country to Mexico. Law enforcement is concerned he will flee the jurisdiction.