January 24, 2014 in City, Region

Henrikson thought to have defrauded investors

By The Spokesman-Review

(Full-size photo)

A bail hearing for the North Dakota oil speculator linked to a December fatal shooting on the South Hill has been pushed to next week by a federal judge.

In addition, prosecutors have begun plans to seize property and real estate belonging to James Henrikson, 34, amid allegations he defrauded investors in a trucking company, pocketing millions for himself through other business ventures begun in his wife’s name.

Henrikson was arrested Saturday after a search of his Watford City, N.D., home yielded multiple firearms. A five-time convicted felon in Oregon, Henrikson was a business associate of Spokane resident Doug Carlile, who was found shot to death in his three-story home near Hutton Elementary School last month.

In a civil forfeiture request, agents from the Department of Homeland Security detail an alleged history of mail and wire fraud for Henrikson and wife, Sarah Creveling, dating at least to February 2011. Multiple investors told federal agents the couple solicited payments promising high rates of return, then used their money for other business interests while hiding their profits.

Investors said Henrikson would often sign documents misspelling his last name, a strategy investigators think he employed to hide his criminal and financial past.

In a text message to one investor, Henrikson reportedly wrote “Hid my past? Well I don’t tell people about that ever,” according to court documents.

In addition, Henrikson and Creveling would frequently shift funds among bank accounts, mingling money meant for the trucking operation to other companies and directly into their own pockets, their accountant told agents.

Employees described Henrikson as an enigmatic and impulsive boss, providing endless explanations for missed payments and claiming he didn’t know how to use a computer. Investigators learned from one employee Henrikson often slept armed.

According to court documents, several investors spoke to federal investigators shortly after Carlile’s shooting Dec. 15. Spokane detectives have said they think Timothy Suckow, 50, was directed to kill Carlile by Henrikson. The now-incarcerated North Dakota oil speculator told police the night of Carlile’s death the Spokane man owed him $1.88 million.

Employees say Henrikson made more than double that monthly at the same time he was telling investors his businesses were in the red.

Spokane Police arrested Suckow last week in Carlile’s death, linking him to the crime scene via DNA found on a glove left in Carlile’s backyard. But charging court documents mention Henrikson prominently, with multiple witnesses telling police Henrikson had made threats on Carlile’s life due to unpaid debts.

Henrikson, who remains in custody in the Burleigh County Detention Center in North Dakota, has not been charged in Carlile’s death, though a federal judge indicated earlier this week the firearms charge was brought against him as a placeholder while authorities continue to investigate his business dealings.

As part of the civil filing Friday, the government has moved to condemn and seize the property in Creveling’s name near Watford City, N.D., a town of about 2,500 people that lies near the edge of the Bakken shale oil fields.

The bail hearing delay was granted so that Henrikson could speak with his appointed attorney ahead of the court appearance. A public defender was assigned to the case late Thursday, according to court records.

Investigators in Spokane searching a storage unit belonging to alleged gunman Suckow turned up three bulletproof vests and a Kevlar helmet, according to documents filed in court this week. A search of his vehicle also turned up what police are calling a checklist of items and actions necessary to carry out the home invasion and shooting, including practicing firing a pistol and making sure to “wipe down” any tools used.

Suckow remains in custody of the Spokane County Jail.

There are 18 comments on this story. Click here to view comments >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email