Charges dropped against Lindles

ALPENA – Charges against Phil Lindle and his daughter,Vanessa Lindle, have been dismissed after the two were accused last fall of committing welfare fraud at Z’s Crossroads, a convenience store and gas station at 1141 US-23 North of Alpena.

The Lindles will not serve any jail time or face new charges, their attorney, Dan White, said Friday.

Instead, the holding company, Lindle Investments LLC, which is in the name of Lindle’s wife, Vickie, will enter a plea of no contest to welfare fraud in 26th Judicial Circuit Court April 21, White said.

Restitution of $63,000 is being sought, “but there will be no collection of this as long as the business is put up for sale,” White said.

The property dropped to $649,000 on Friday, from a previous price of $699,000, said Lori Stephan of Real Estate One, the firm listing the site.

Alpena County Prosecutor Ed Black said the agreement means the Lindles will have to close down their business.

“We did this, because we believe getting the money or closing the business does a greater service for the community than a short jail time,” Black said. “Either they pay the restitution back or they go out of business.”

The 57-year-old Alpena man and his daughter were arrested November 2013 on charges they permitted the sale of synthetic marijuana, also known as spice and bath salts, and other ineligible items to Michigan Bridge Card holders at the truck stop.

Investigators with Michigan Department of Human Services through the Office of Inspector General said the fraud totalled more than $63,000 in taxpayer dollars. Nine food stamp users were also arrested during the investigation and 23 people were disqualified from the food assistance program.

Betsy Lehndorff can be reached via email at blehndorff@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5693. Follow Betsy on Twitter @bl_alpenanews.