Former Northwood mayor to claim diminished responsibility in fraud case

Published 10:13 am Wednesday, May 18, 2016

By Molly Montag, Mason City Globe Gazette

NORTHWOOD — The former mayor of Northwood plans to use a defense of diminished mental responsibility to allegations he defrauded a city bank of $300,000.

Randy Severson, 52, has pleaded not guilty to felony ongoing criminal conduct, three counts of felony first-degree fraudulent practice and three counts of felony second-degree fraudulent practice.

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In a recent court filing, Severson’s attorney, Joel Yunek, notified the court he plans to use defenses of diminished responsibility, the statue of limitations and no proof his client achieved any financial gain.

Severson is accused of fraudulently using the names of customers, family members and others on invoices he submitted to the bank for lines of credit.

He’s accused of doing this from 2011-2014 while he was president of Northwood Lumber.

In a diminished responsibility defense, a person argues he did not have the mental capacity to form the intent to knowingly commit a crime at the time the crimes allegedly occurred.

Iowa law requires defendents to notify the court when they plan to use this defense.