ALBERT LEA, Minn. - The Minnesota Department of Commerce is investigating a local business owner for allegedly overcharging his customers. According to Minnesota Department of Commerce Communications Director, Ross Corson, as a part of the investigation the Fraud Bureau completed two search warrants on Thursday at David Nelson's businesses. The first at 4 Seasons Coffee and another at an office and storage facility at 636 E. 11th St. in Albert Lea.
According to court documents, the Department of Commerce stated there is probable cause to believe David Nelson committed theft. That search warrant was approved after the Weights and Measures Divison received an anonymous report on May 1 stating 4 Seasons Coffee sold bags containing 4 1/2 pounds of coffee to customers for the price of a 5 pound bag.
An inspector went to a business listed in the complaint and found 10 bags weighing 4 1/2 pounds each and found seven bags weighing 4 1/2 pounds at another business. While inspecting 4 Seasons Coffee Nelson allegedly told an inspector that four bags of coffee in a box weighed 20 pounds, but the weights were not listed on the bags which is required by law.
Inspectors also noticed bags of coffee that weighed 5 pounds were packaged by a different business, European Roasterie Inc. Court documents state European Roasterie Inc. gave 4 Seasons Coffee a form that said the packages the company ordered weighed 4 1/2 pounds. A 4 Seasons Coffee employee told investigators that Nelson changed the size of bags about five years ago.
Court documents state European Roasterie told inspectors the business manager at 4 Seasons Coffee directed them to start packaging coffee in 5-pound bags but records and invoices reveal the coffee business had not ordered any 5-pound bags. Invoices from European Roasterie in February show the business shipped 1,248 4 1/2 pound bags of coffee to 4 Seasons Coffee. If the bags were sold for $33.25 each, customers would have been overcharged approximately $4,169.
No charges have been filed in the case. Attempts to reach Nelson were unsuccessful Friday evening. The investigation is on-going.
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