Men threatened prior to giving fraud testimony

A Milaca man could face up to five years in prison after threatening two men who are alleged witnesses in an insurance fraud investigation.

Jason Christopher Bartlett, 47, 440 Second St. NE, Milaca, is accused of making telephone threats to the two men on Dec. 18 — the day before the men were scheduled to give statements to an investigator investigating potential insurance fraud conducted by Bartlett, according to a criminal complaint filed in Mille Lacs County District Court.

Bartlett was arrested Dec. 18 and later charged with a felony count of making terroristic threats. He was booked into the Mille Lacs County Jail, released on bail Dec. 19, and is scheduled to appear in court for an omnibus hearing on Jan. 31, 2014.

According to the complaint: The first man reporting threats made by Bartlett told authorities that he was asked by Bartlett if he had turned Bartlett into authorities. The man denied any such action.

Bartlett then allegedly stated that if he were to find out the man did report Bartlett to authorities, “I’m taking you, your mom and dad, and all your kids — I’m taking you all out,” the complaint states. The alleged victim told authorities he knew Bartlett to have guns and interpreted the threat to mean Bartlett would shoot him, the complaint states. The man then called his spouse and had her pick their children up at school as a precaution, according to the complaint.

The second witness allegedly received a phone call from Bartlett the same day. Like he did with the first victim, Bartlett allegedly asked the man if he had turned him into the authorities.

“So what if I did,” the man told investigators he responded to Bartlett.

Bartlett allegedly responded by stating, “You’re dead,” the complaint states.s

A Mille Lacs County deputy located Bartlett at his home and placed him under arrest. Bartlett allegedly admitted calling the two men to ask if they had turned him in for insurance fraud. Bartlett denied threatening violence, the complaint states.