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PR woman faces security interest theft charges

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A Park Rapids woman faces felony charges regarding the transference of personal property, in which she knew another party had a security interest.

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In November 2003, Shelly Rachel V. O'Neil, a.k.a. Rachelle Valene O'Neil, and then known as Shelly Ament, 44, entered into a loan agreement with her husband through Mid-Central Federal Savings Bank of Wadena. According to court documents, the collateral eventually evolved to include a 2006 Chevrolet Silverado. The security interest was listed on the certificate of title with Mid-Central as the first secured party.

In July 2008, O'Neil and her husband were in the process of getting a divorce, which required both parties to pay on the loans the couple had amassed. O'Neil was granted the Chevy Silverado. The title, which showed ownership between the two parties as well as Mid-Central Federal, was not changed, court records said. O'Neil made payments, beginning in July 2008 and lasting into the first half of 2010.

In July 2010, O'Neil applied for a new title on the Silverado through the state of Michigan. Court documents show that on the Application for Michigan Vehicle Title, she listed the first secured party and second secured party as "NONE," with her address as being in Bay City, Mich. O'Neil signed the document with her name and a forged signature of her ex-husband. When questioned about the document, he confirmed O'Neil had forged his name.

Throughout August 2010, she made contact with the bank regarding late payments, and she told them she had moved to Gillette, Wyo. She then continued sending payments, court records said.

On Aug. 17, 2010, the new Michigan title was issued in her name stating, "NO SECURED INTEREST ON RECORD." O'Neil continued making payments on the truck for the next 13 months.

On Sept. 5, 2011, she sold the truck to Nyhus Chevrolet Buick in Staples, with the dealership accepting the Michigan "clear" title. She was paid $15,953.50 in cash, which was not used to pay off the bank. She did not inform Mid-Central or her ex-husband that she had disposed of the collateral. The vehicle was eventually sold by the dealership.

Court records said O'Neil told investigators she believed the loan was paid off, and she had never signed the application without reading it. O'Neil said she was surprised the Michigan title presumed the loan was paid off, but she had continued making payments during that time.

O'Neil's first court appearance is set for Sept. 10. If found guilty, she could face up to three years in prison and/or a $6,000 fine.

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