28 Boxes

Don Boyd kept his files simple. They were voluminous but simple. He kept them in chronological order in 28 bankers boxes. He had so many apples in the air that it was probably the only sensible way to organize them.

The FBI seized every record he had - twenty-eight bankers boxes worth of material. Don had known that when it came time to prepare his defense he would need access to these records so he had every item replicated before the FBI got hold of it. Twenty-eight boxes of material were photocopied. Don still has the bill. Heís never paid it. Thatís because he never got to use it. After Don made copies of everything the FBI seized all twenty-eight boxes of the duplicated records from Donís lawyerís office. Now the FBI had two of everything. Don had zip.

Don wanted to fight to get these records back to mount his defense but his lawyer said there wasnít time. Wasnít time? Court proceedings havenít been swift and sure for a century. Today complicated court cases can take years even decades, unless you have a public defender, the lawyers of last resort for an indigent. Donís lawyer, the friend of the people rooting for a swift end to the investigations, couldnít be bothered with that kind of a defense.

Don requested that the FBI allow him to look through his records. He was permitted into the evidence room for one hour! The files were no longer chronologically organized. They were scattered about hither and yon. Allowing Don to rummage through the evidence room by himself was reminiscent of the sloppy way the FBI had arrested him. This time, however, there weren't dozens of television cameras rolling to catch all the drama.

Having only one hour to comb through his business life Don had to guess which thing might be most important to his defense. Since everything the FBI and Federal prosecutor had against him hinged on the word of the one man who had given evidence against him he looked for the Manos tax files.

Don told his lawyer about the Manos records. His lawyer gave him a lecture. He hadnít been authorized to look at that evidence in the evidence room. Still, it seemed useful. Don contacted the man who had bought a resort from Manos based on double booked ledgers. One set made the resort look better financially than it really was. Thatís the one the buyer saw. The other showed that the resort didnít make much money. Thatís the one the IRS saw when Manos filed his income taxes.

Don knew all about Manosís tax problems because Manos had complained about being hounded by the IRS a couple years earlier. He needed more money because the IRS was after him for back taxes. The man who had bought Manos resort based on the phony finance records was more than willing to tell the court about Manos's duplicity and to impeach his testimony. 

Before the resort owner could spit out more than ten words about Boydís only accuser, Judge Devitt ruled that this testimony was immaterial. The Judge ruled that his testimony was immaterial because it was Boyd, not Manos, who was on trial.

Now it was Manosís word against Boydís. Furthermore, Boyd couldnít introduce the evidence from his own businesses because the FBI had all but denied him access to both sets of records they had confiscated from him.

In short order Don was found guilty. Not of stealing one million dollars but for stealing $65,000. Actually he wasnít even found guilty of this. He was found guilty of mail fraud in an attempt to steal $65,000 dollars. Later Don would prove that two-thirds of this sum went in fact to his boss. Don was being sent to jail for an attempt to steal $27,000 based on the word of a man who had IRS problems because of his financial dishonesty. Ironically Don's boss, Michael Pintar, who was found guilty of the same conspiracy to commit mail fraud later had this charge dismissed by another court on appeal. This other court ruled that the evidence showed that there was, in fact, no mail fraud since there was no proof that the money asked of the government was meant for anything other than legitimate purposes. Its too bad Don had an indifferent public defender because Judge Devitt didn't see it this way..

Judge Devitt wanted to sentence Don Boyd to serve his sentence in a super max prison outside the state of Minnesota where his contact with the outside world would have been almost completely cut off. This was a severe punishment, an unusually severe punishment for a middling embezzlement. Most people convicted for a first time offense of this size are given sentences in minimum security prisons. I used to take my kids to a visit one such fellow who had embezzled $75,000 at Duluth ís Federal Prison. Why would Judge Devitt want to impose such a harsh punishment? He must have had his reasons.

After Don's release he wanted his records back. He would have been happy to have either set of records returned to him by the FBI. He could not get them without employing the FOIA. Thatís the Freedom of Information Act. When they finally returned them Don was only given eight bankers boxes back not 28. When I asked Boyd what seemed to be missing Don told me that it was everything that had anything to do with the many politicians he had once worked with.