A private investigator hired by a Cambridge law office has been charged
with felony bribery stemming from an incident in Isanti County.
A private investigator hired by a Cambridge law office has been charged with felony bribery stemming from an incident in Isanti County.
Joseph Gilbert Collins, 51, of Aitkin, was charged in Washington County District Court Jan. 12 for felony bribery, gross misdemeanor 2nd degree tampering with a witness-prevent testimony and gross misdemeanor 2nd degree tampering with a witness-coerce false information to police.
According to the criminal complaint, Collins was hired by a Cambridge law office to investigate a case on behalf of a man who had been charged with domestic assault in Isanti County Court. The man was charged with domestic assault in July 2010, and soon thereafter retained the services of the law office.
On Dec. 28, the victim in the domestic assault case and her friend met with Collins at a Cambridge restaurant. Collins told her he was working on behalf of a Cambridge law office and an antique store in Stillwater. He told the victim he had video of her stealing jewelry from an antique store, and had witnesses to the theft. Collins told her if she changed her story regarding the domestic assault charges, he would make the theft accusations go away.
On Dec. 30, in a recorded conversation, Collins said he would “absolutely” and “100 percent” give his “word” that he would make the theft accusations go away if she changed her story regarding the domestic assault charges.
Collins explained to the victim that in order for her to change her story he would meet with her and take a recorded and written statement from her. He said he would then submit the report to the Cambridge law office that hired him, the sheriff and the district attorney’s office. He said he would also submit a report to the antique store stating he couldn’t identify who the person was that committed the theft.
Collins said once the reports were distributed, the charges against the man involved in the domestic assault would be dismissed. He also explained to her that law enforcement would likely contact her, and she would tell them she made a new statement.
Collins appeared before Judge Schoffelman Jan. 12 where bail was set at $10,000. The case is being prosecuted by Washington County as a conflict case because an Isanti County case is involved.