The federal firearms case against a North Dakota oil speculator linked to the death of a South Hill businessman was put on hold Friday, as new details of his alleged fraudulent business practices emerged.
Prosecutors have begun plans to seize property and real estate belonging to James Henrikson, 34, amid charges he cheated investors in his 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 Department of Homeland Security agents describe a history of mail and wire fraud for Henrikson and his wife, Sarah Creveling, dating to February 2011. Multiple investors told federal agents the couple solicited payments with promises of high rates of return, then used the 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, redirecting money meant for the trucking operation into 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. One employee told investigators Henrikson often slept armed.
According to court documents, several investors spoke to federal investigators shortly after Carlile’s shooting death Dec. 15. Spokane detectives have said they think Timothy Suckow, 50, was directed by Henrikson to kill Carlile. The now-incarcerated North Dakota oil speculator told police on 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.
As part of the civil filing Friday, the government has moved to condemn and seize the property in Creveling’s name near Watford City.
The bail hearing delay was granted so Henrikson could speak with his appointed attorney ahead of the court appearance. A public defender was assigned to the firearms case late Thursday, according to court records.