The Minnesota Court of Appeals has upheld the conviction of a Faribault man placed on probation in 2017 after a Rice County jury convicted him of perjury and receiving stolen property in connection with the theft of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

Paul Scott Seeman, 46, was charged in Rice County District Court with 36 counts relating to racketeering, receiving stolen property, providing false information in a motor vehicle title application, and other charges after investigating officers executed a search warrant on his Cannon City Township property in May 2014. Prosecutors decided to split the case, with Seeman facing charges of one count each of possession of stolen property and perjury in the first of three trials.

Seeman had purchased the Harley-Davidson, made one payment and then stopped making payments. Harley-Davidson sued to repossess the bike, but Seeman testified it had been repossessed and that he didn’t know where it was. During the search, law enforcement found the Harley in Seeman’s basement.

The jury found Seeman guilty in September 2017, and he was given concurrent sentences of 15 months in prison for each count. However, the court stayed execution of the sentences and place him on probation for five years.

In his seeking to have his conviction overturned, Seeman challenged the district court’s rejections of his motion to suppress evidence obtained from the search warrant and requests to reopen the omnibus hearing. The Court of Appeals turned back those arguments.

“Because the search warrant was supported by sufficient probable cause, and because the district court did not abuse its discretion by denying his requests to reopen the omnibus hearing, we affirm,” Judge Denise D. Reilly wrote in its Jan. 11 decision.

Seeman was convicted of a second count of receiving stolen property in March 2018. He's yet to be sentenced on that charge.

The remaining charges Seeman faced in the case surround his alleged involvement in a racketeering ring over four states. Several properties searched by local law enforcement in mid 2014 turned up items reported stolen from several Minnesota counties, and Montana, Colorado and Iowa. Stolen property included trailers, cars and an antique trailer worth $60,000. He pleaded not guilty to the remaining counts in August 2019. 

Seeman has 30 days to request a review by the Minnesota Supreme Court. Should that happen, the Rice County Attorney's Office has 30 days to respond, and the court can decline Seeman's request. Should that happen, Rice County Attorney John Fossum said the trial on the remaining charges will likely take place later this year.

"Mr. Seeman has gone through a couple of different lawyers, and each brought their own continuance,” he said of the delay in bringing Seeman to trial. “There have been (appeals) that didn't go anywhere. There's been a significant amount of litigation brought about because it was separated into three different cases. The Court of Appeals has affirmed the District Court's decision in all of his search and seizure arguments."

Seeman has been convicted of numerous other charges over the years. He was convicted of livestock rustling in June 2016 in Rice County. In 2017, He was convicted of probation violations that included dropping his pants in front of female probation officers in what he claimed was an attempt to show he didn't have contraband in his underwear.

Although he has been convicted of four felonies, Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines won't require a prison sentence unless Seeman receives another felony conviction. If convicted of the remaining charges, Seeman could be sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Reach Associate Editor Sam Wilmes at 507-645-1115. © Copyright 2020 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

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