Was man in Delavan or Ukraine?
ELKHORN Where was Gerald J. Nickels?
A 2009 Walworth County criminal complaint charges Nickels with fleeing to Ukraine after selling a house that he and his fiancé had built, taking the money and leaving his fiancé behind, according to the complaint.
Defense attorney Jeffrey Hahn said his client has lived in Delavan, not Ukraine.
Assistant District Attorney Diane Donohoo, lead prosecutor in the case, said she was uncertain how Nickels was apprehended and how authorities became aware of his whereabouts.
What's certain is that Nickels since mid-July has been in the Walworth County Jail. Court records list his address as W7955 Creek Road, No. 659, Delavan.
According to a complaint:
A woman said she was engaged to Nickels, they built a home and paid its mortgage. After living with Nickels, she called off the engagement, moved out of the home in May 2001 and stopped making mortgage payments.
The woman told police that in 2008 she learned the home had been sold without her permission, despite her being listed as part owner. The woman reported she had contributed $40,000 toward purchase, and the house was sold for a $35,000 profit.
When she contacted the mortgage company, the woman learned an escrow check had been sent to her and cashed. The woman reported she neither received a check nor signed a property transfer document.
She asked the mortgage company for a copy of the escrow check, which had been sent to an address in Ukraine. The woman told police she never lived in Ukraine.
The property deed was recorded in Walworth County on Nov. 6, 2006. The woman who signed the deed transfer presented a Wisconsin driver's license as proof of identification.
A Walworth County sheriff's detective tried to find Nickels and concluded that Nickels had moved to Ukraine.
A preliminary hearing was set for 2:30 p.m. Friday before Race. Nickels is charged with felony theft and forgery. Each crime carries prison terms of up to six years.