A notorious Twin Cities counterfeiter and scam artist has lengthened his rap sheet, this time charged with paying for an Eagan restaurant with a phony $400,000 cashier’s check and then draining the business of money.
Edward Stahlmann, 37, of St. Paul, was charged Monday in Dakota County District Court with three counts of check forgery in connection with his agreement to buy Wyatt’s Twisted Americana off Cliff Lake Drive in January.
Stahlmann was imprisoned in Faribault 3 ½ weeks ago after his conviction in Ramsey County for passing a fake $26,000 cashier’s check to a title services company in White Bear Lake.
The complaint in the earlier case noted that Stahlmann has more than 20 convictions dating to 2004 for crimes that include theft, swindling, passing forged checks, filing fraudulent tax returns, possessing or passing counterfeit checks, and two convictions for impersonating a police officer.
Court records do not list an attorney for Stahlmann, who has another six months in prison for his conviction in Ramsey County.
According to the Dakota County complaint:
Wyatt’s told police that Stahlmann used what he presented as a Bank of America cashier’s check to buy the business, and the money was deposited by the seller on Jan. 9 in its U.S. Bank account.
Stahlmann soon “assumed control of the business, its accounts, and proceeds,” although the deal had not been finalized.
He then began transferring the restaurant’s money to an account he set up and then moved the funds again to Venmo, Cash App, specific individuals and elsewhere. He also withdrew Wyatt’s money from ATMs.
On Jan. 14, the cashier’s check bounced and was deemed “altered/counterfeit.” Stahlmann said he could meet at the bank to clear up the situation but failed to show up.
The fraudulent $400,000 cashier’s check was shown by investigators to a Bank of America branch manager in Eagan, who confirmed it was fraudulent.
While Stahlmann had control of the business, he wrote fraudulent checks for payroll and for food, alcohol and other supplies, said proprietor Chris Palek, who said he was able to halt Stahlmann from taking ownership after the fraud was discovered.
“There was a substantial loss of money to my business,” Palek said.
Palek said he wishes he had caught wind of Stahlmann’s criminal past before doing business with him.
“I believe we did try to do some searches and cover our bases,” he said. “We probably didn’t do enough. He kept dragging us along, telling us he was going to do a direct deposit” to make good on the cashier’s check.
For now, the restaurant is off the market but could go back on the block “maybe down the road in the future,” Palek said.
“We were making a great comeback before the virus hit,” he said. “Even after, we’ve been doing OK with [just] takeout.”
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482