Tuttle’s stuff to be handed over

Published 9:30 am Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The last of the evidence seized from Albert Lea Abstract Co. during the investigation and criminal prosecution of former Freeborn County Commissioner Linda Tuttle will soon be released.

The Albert Lea City Council voted unanimously Monday to release 13 computers that have been in the custody of the Albert Lea Police Department since June 22, 2010.

On that day, Albert Lea police officers and agents from the Minnesota Division of Insurance Fraud Prevention loaded the computers and numerous boxes of files from Albert Lea Abstract Co. onto a parked U-Haul truck in front of the business.

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The evidence ultimately led to Tuttle’s conviction of wire fraud in federal court in Minneapolis. She is serving a 3 1/2-year prison sentence in Alderson, W.Va., for stealing more than $1 million from her client’s escrow accounts for personal use.

Albert Lea Police Chief Dwaine Winkels said at the height of the investigation an entire room in the Law Enforcement Center had to be set aside to house all of the evidence from the case.

All of the other evidence, including files and paperwork, has already been claimed and released, and the computers had been the only evidence remaining.

According to background information provided by the city, the computers are being released to Capitol Lien Records & Research Inc., which had previously entered into an agreement to purchase most of the assets of the company. The company seeks to obtain some data on the computers.

The city will be held harmless from any liability stemming from the release, and the company has agreed to keep the information on the computers as confidential, according to the agreement.

The city is not receiving any money from releasing the computers.

How long it will take for the computers to be released was unclear.