Rush City Woman Pleads Guilty to $1.8 Million Scheme Involving Romance Fraud and Federal Pandemic Programs
MINNEAPOLIS – A Duluth man has pleaded guilty to wire fraud after pretending to operate a law firm and defrauding an individual out of thousands of dollars in legal fees, announced U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger.
According to court documents, between March and April 2022, Gale Allen Rachuy, 73, devised and executed a scheme to defraud an individual (Victim A) by falsely representing that he could provide legal services in connection with Victim A’s post-conviction motion in exchange for $10,000. Rachuy told Victim A that he operated Midwest Legal Service, a Duluth-area law firm, for more than 38 years and claimed to employ several attorneys, including a retired federal judge who previously served on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals (Judge A) and a retired Hennepin County District Court judge (Judge B).
According to court documents, on March 10, 2022, Rachuy sent a letter to Victim A on Midwest Legal Service letterhead falsely claiming that Judge A would assist in Victim A’s legal representation and enclosed a copy of a retainer agreement seeking a $2,500 payment. On March 15, 2022, Rachuy received the $2,500 retainer from Victim A. Shortly thereafter, Victim A became suspicious and confronted Rachuy because Victim A had not received a draft of the legal documents Rachuy had promised to file. Rachuy promised Victim A that he would promptly refund the money, but never did so. Instead, Rachuy continued to falsely assure Victim A that Judge A and Judge B were working on the case.
Rachuy pleaded guilty yesterday in U.S. District Court before Senior Judge Joan N. Ericksen to one count of wire fraud. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled at a later date.
This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI, the Duluth Police Department, and the Hermantown Police Department, with assistance from the St. Louis County Attorney’s Office.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Chelsea A. Walcker and Harry M. Jacobs are prosecuting the case.