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Trevino back in court: House mover faces new charges

Embattled area house mover Michael Trevino was in Cass County court Friday on a new felony fraud charge from Wyoming, where police say he and a business partner passed several bad checks last summer.


Embattled area house mover Michael Trevino was in Cass County court Friday on a new felony fraud charge from Wyoming, where police say he and a business partner passed several bad checks last summer.

Trevino, 36, and Shannon Keeves, 35, both 125 11th St. W., West Fargo, are accused of conspiring to commit felony fraud by check in Sheridan, Wyo., while they were there last August to move a house.

Last month, East Central District Judge Wade Webb temporarily halted Trevino and Keeves from moving buildings. North Dakota's consumer protection division requested the preliminary injunction while it moved forward with a consumer fraud case against Trevino, Keeves and their business, Triumph Inc., for several unfinished moves.

Trevino is also awaiting an October criminal trial in Wyoming for his purchase of a pickup last summer in Sheridan. Trevino says the truck was a lemon; Sheridan County prosecutor Stuart Healy says Trevino stopped payment on a check and never intended to pay for it.

In the more recent charges, Healy says Trevino and Keeves passed bad checks totaling almost $1,200 to several businesses, including a lumber yard, Ace Hardware and Burger King. Keeves signed all but one of the checks, but Trevino was present at some of the transactions, and one store employee believed Keeves was his girlfriend and secretary, Healy wrote in his complaint.


How well Keeves and Trevino know each other, even based on their own statements in court records, is uncertain.

When Sheridan County officials jailed Trevino in January for the pickup matter, Trevino told Detective Mark Hutchins that he didn't really know Keeves and that she was just "some girl that worked for Triumph," according to Healy's complaint.

Three days later, Keeves called the detective because she was upset Trevino was in jail. She said the two were only co-workers, according to the complaint.

But Keeves listed Trevino as her fiancé in court records filed this year in Cass County.

Keeves' mother, Claudia Keeves, also told the Sheridan detective her daughter and Trevino were a couple. She said Trevino has Shannon sign their checks so his name is not associated with them, Healy's complaint said.

Messages left for Trevino and Keeves at the Cass County Jail went unreturned Friday afternoon. Friday morning a judge set their bail at $1,100 cash in advance of a July 16 extradition hearing for the check fraud case.

Their defense attorney, Dennis Fisher, was gone from the office Friday and hard to reach, a secretary said. He did not return a call for comment.

In Healy's complaint, Keeves defended herself and Trevino by telling the detective all the checks they had passed in Sheridan were corporate checks for which only Triumph could be held liable. She and Trevino were only employees, Keeves told the detective, so she would have to take the matter "before the corporation and let the people higher up than her handle it."


By higher-ups, Keeves might have been referring to her parents, Robert and Claudia Keeves. Trimph's first annual report, filed in August with the North Dakota Secretary of State, lists Trevino as president, Robert Keeves as vice president, Claudia Keeves as secretary and Shannon Keeves as treasurer.

A phone call to Keeves' parents went unreturned Friday, but Healy's complaint includes an explanation from the couple.

Claudia Keeves told Hutchins she only cleaned for Triumph and her husband served as bookkeeper for a short while. She said she and her husband asked the state to remove their association with Triumph after spending much of their own money to keep the company solvent.

She told Hutchins that Trevino and her daughter often passed courtesy checks from the bank that the company could not cover.

In other court action, Trevino is accused of stealing the furniture from a Fargo apartment he had rented for 15 months.

The owner of the building at 1121 2nd Ave. S. told police Trevino took $740 worth of property, including a hide-a-bed, a picture and an air conditioner, when he and Keeves moved out in January.

Trevino pleaded not guilty to the charge, misdemeanor theft, Thursday in Cass County District Court. In a police report, Keeves told an officer she and Trevino had replaced the original furniture and the owner knew where the old items were.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Forster at (701) 241-5538

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