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Alleged conman’s sentencing postponed after he falls ill

Steven Harold Anderson

A sentencing hearing for an East Grand Forks police informant who used bad checks to buy a vehicle was postponed Friday afternoon in state district court in Grand Forks after he became ill.

Altru Health System staff could not confirm that Steven Harold Anderson, 59, was taken to the hospital’s emergency room prior to his hearing but did confirm he was not an inpatient as of Friday afternoon.

David Olgren, Anderson’s attorney, did not respond to requests for comment.

Anderson’s sentencing hearing has been rescheduled for 1:30 p.m. May 16.

He earlier pleaded guilty to theft of property, a crime with a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.

Anderson recently had been identified as an informant and a witness in a murder-conspiracy case against Grand Forks defense attorney Henry Howe, his client Paul Francis Lysengen and Wesley Wayne Smith.

But after his criminal record was revealed by Howe’s defense team, the trio’s charges were reduced to witness tampering. A prosecutor submitted a motion Thursday to have Howe’s charge dropped but not Lysengen’s and Smith’s.

Howe’s attorneys say Anderson is a conman, pointing to a long criminal history that spans about 40 years across at least four states and includes charges of theft, forgery and cashing bad checks.

He still faces a charge of issuing a check or draft with insufficient funds or credit in state district court in Fargo. A trial is scheduled for 9 a.m. June 10.