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Dewey Furniture case set for Monday hearing

BEMIDJI – A Beltrami County judge on Monday will hear from attorneys on a motion to dismiss the charges levied against a former Bemidji business owner.

Margaret Jo Hirt, 52, of Bemidji, the former owner of Dewey Furniture, now faces revised charges. She currently faces four counts of felony temporary theft.

Previously, she was charged with three counts of felony credit card fraud and three counts of felony theft by swindle, all of which she pleaded not guilty to in September 2011.

Beltrami County District Judge Shari Schluchter is slated from attorneys in a 9 a.m. pre-trial appearance Monday, according to the Minnesota court system.

Hirt appeared this past Monday for a pre-trial appearance as the new charges were filed in district court, according to the Minnesota court system. A motion to dismiss also was filed that day.

According to the new criminal complaint, Hirt is accused of requiring four customers to pre-pay partial or complete payments for furniture orders, but they did not receive those orders.

The complaint alleges that a customer in January 2010 pre-paid in excess of $1,700 for a furniture order but never received that order. Hirt refunded the customer’s money approximately six months later, the complaint states.

Another customer in March 2010 pre-paid about $1,700, half the cost of his furniture order, but never received the order, the complaint alleges. That customer recovered his money after suing Hirt and Dewey Furniture, according to the complaint.

A couple in April 2010 pre-paid more than $1,800 to place a furniture order with Dewey Furniture but did not receive their order, the complaint alleges.

“The (couple) … never received the furniture and, if reimbursed, had to wait a significant amount of time,” the complaint states.

A fourth customer in December 2010 pre-paid $2,995 for furniture, but also did not receive the order, the complaint alleges.

Hirt issued the customer a check for $2,196 three months later, but the check was returned due to non-sufficient funds, the complaint states.