By Bill Hudson, WCCO-TV

MAZEPPA, Minn. (WCCO) — As administrator of his tiny Wabasha County village, Duane Hofschulte values every dollar that comes into to the city’s coffers.

Walking through the Mazeppa community center, Hofschulte said, “90 percent of it was paid through charitable gambling.”

That’s a pile of money for this city of 800 residents. The combined fire station and city hall cost about $500,000 to construct. Hofschulte openly admits, Mazeppa’s residents wouldn’t have their new city hall, fire station or fancy fire trucks, if not for the help of charitable gambling.

“It’s the biggest thing we’ve done in the community,” he said.

But the bar that sold pull tabs to benefit the Mazeppa Fire Relief Fund is in deep trouble. Its owner, 57-year-old Orrin Gregory Haugen, is charged with gambling fraud and identify theft. Investigators say as the bar’s owner, he was playing pull tabs illegally. His combined winnings, dating back to 2008, is valued at $8,700.

“The rules are very clear, if you’re selling you can’t play if you’re the owner,” says Tom Barrett, head of Minnesota’s Gambling Control Board.

Barrett’s investigators say Haugen tried to conceal his participation in playing pull tabs and the resulting winnings, by forging past winner’s signatures and using other people’s driver license numbers.

“In this case, he found a way to forge the prize receipts and now the charity is out of business,” Barrett said.

Haugen is charged in Wabasha County Court with one count of identity theft and one count of lawful gambling fraud. Both are felonies punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.

Investigators believe that Haugen was also playing pull tabs at a second location in Plainview, where he operated the Hill Supper Club and Lounge. That charity benefited the Plainview Lion’s Club.

For now both of these small Wabasha County towns will look for another angel, to help fund what taxpayers can’t afford.

“You can find two or three sites and it’s still not going to make up the difference,” said Hofschulte.

Haugen is to make his first appearance on the charges on Feb. 7 in Wabasha.

Comments (29)
  1. Helen says:

    I wonder if Mr. Hofschulte is also the person in charge of the municipal liquor store in Mazeppa. If so, couldn’t he be considered to be in direct competition with Mr. Haugen’s bar in this very small town? Politics are highly charged in small towns!

  2. LetsThrowStones says:

    Is Hofschulte the one who turned him in? I didn’t see that in the article. It looks like he’s kind of bummed that they lost the business because it will mean less donations. Did I miss something?

  3. Helen says:

    A quick on-line search indicates that Mr. Hofschulte is not presently the manager of the Mazeppa Liquor store.

  4. mike says:

    Laugh i make 8 grand in overtime

  5. Billy Grahem says:

    Give the guy a break! that is the last thing we need is uncle sam putting it in the rest of the way!! and we don’t even get a kiss??? I feel so cheap!!!!

  6. Angela says:

    What is disturbing about this story is how sensationalized it is from a very ill-researched viewpoint. It leaves out that there are 3 other bars doing very well selling those same pulltabs in this town of 800. I highly doubt that the fire department, Mazeppa Daze or the fireworks are in any danger of losing out on anything. It leaves out how a pull tab box actually works, he probably LOST money overall. Furthermore, Haugen is pronounced HOW-gen. What is clear is that it was a one-sided biased account that failed to explain anything about the pull tab/gaming works. DO YOUR HOMEWORK BEFORE YOU RUN SUCH AN INFLAMED & ACCUSATORY “STORY”.

  7. clyde says:

    If you think about things he still had to pay for the tickets and wasn’ stealing people that molest kids face less than what he is. Just think if one of your kids was molested.

  8. tax payer says:

    hahahahahaha He finally got caught HAGen!

  9. brad says:

    Duane Hofschulte is the City Administrator for the city of Mazeppa. He IS NOT in any kind of competition with W.D.’s (Orrin Haugen’s bar). Mr Hofschulte was not the person that turned him in either…the authorities were alerted by one or more of the victims that had their name/sinatures and drivers license filled out on the illegally won pull tab sheets. End of story.

    1. tri says:

      Nonsense Moon has a dog in this fight and if you are from this town you know it!

  10. loser HAgen says:

    the guy is, and always has been a crook. Maybe now he will finally be forced to stop selling liquor to the local minor kids. He has made his way through life by cheating people, lying and stealing. Look up this clowns police record, it speaks louder than words! Karma has caught up with him!!

  11. Tri says:

    Does WCCO have a single journalist on it’s staff? This is the most biased reporting I have seen in some time. Next time at least attempt to get some facts before you go and pass judgement on someone!

    Mazeppa will be just fine, this in no way puts anything the town does in jeopardy!

  12. randa says:

    yea, hickville mazeppa will be fine! I am sure everyone will be able to keep haning out and drinking themselves sick at wd”s. I think you all missed the point, Puddy is a crook! Is there anyone willng to argue this point???

  13. Cowboy says:

    If Moon is so concerned about EVERY DOLLAR that comes into this small community….then why is he NOT CONCERNED about collecting property taxes on land deals he OVERSEES??? Maybe the City Administrator (Moon) needs to be investigated too!!! He isn’t as innocent as he should be in a position of trust.

  14. brad says:

    Hey Cowpoke, Isn’t it the county’s job to collect taxes on land? Maybe you should find that out…when you find it out you could (duct) tape another post on this thread.

  15. Cowboy says:

    Hey Bradley, Reread my post, I didn’t say anything about who’s responsibility it is to collect taxes. So if you would like to meet and discuss the issue with the County, as I have, I am more then willing to enlighten you. The problem is the City Council has no idea what this man is doing. Is this sticky enough for you Bradley.

  16. Liffrig says:

    As was said above, he probably LOST money, he certainly didn’t walk away with or take money away from anyone or anything in this hypocritcal little town. It takes money put to play the game so he probably has bought a few firemen their suites that keep them safe!! Granted, the law WAS broken and he will suffer the consequences. As I’m sure all of you here commenting have done something you’ve paid the price for. But it certainly isn’t as bad as what some of you and the media are making it out to be.
    And randa, you bet… anytime… I see YOU aren’t even worth capatilizing your name….

  17. Concerns from Mazeppa says:

    Bottom Line….All of us have our own skeleton’s in a closet some place from some time! There isn’t a one of us that is any better than the other! There are always two sides to every story and YES…you need to get ALL of the facts before we start making accusations about people and reporting what isn’t the true facts!

  18. maz resident says:

    What ARE the facts? Haugen used another persons drivers license number! What other facts does a person need?? Please, if this is all wrong and it was not done, let us know of the true facts!!

  19. Peter says:

    Where were the good citizens of Mazeppa at Thanksgiving and Christmas when WD’s provided free meals to those who had nowhere to go or couldn’t afford a meal. What did Jesus say? Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone!

  20. Ex-Mazeppa Municipal Liq store patron says:

    Very interesting, AND unprofessional, that the current Mazeppa Liquor store manager has a laptop open to this article and printouts laying around the bar for everyone who comes in to read… Should be let go on the spot. Supposedly NOT in any direct competition with Mr. Haugen/WD’s bar…. ??

  21. liffrig says:

    shame on u cindy….what gives u a right to judge and execute…..u no longer have my bussiness..

  22. facts or fiction? says:

    Yes the facts are that Mr. Haugen has been charged with gambling fraud and identity theft. For that, Mr. Haugen will be given due process of the law, given a fair trial and if convicted – will pay for his crime. The other facts are that he stole NOTHING from the town of Mazeppa or its “coffers” as Mr. Hofschulte so dearly values. The “entire town is not the biggest loser” as the media suggests. “Essential emergency services” will not be lost as a result of Mr. Haugen’s activities. In regard to the statement “for now…these towns will look for another angel, to help fund what taxpayers can’t afford” is that a FACT? Angel? There are many of you that think this media clip was a clear depiction of factual information…..When was Mr. Haugen chosen as the first (and only) Angel of Mazeppa?? Does anyone else recognize the parody? A journalism team that researches the facts, would never have made that parallel….

    Given that there are three other establishments that sell pull tabs – do we really think that Mazeppa taxpayers and surrounding community members are going to allow Mr. Haugen (to get) the sole credit for the demise of the Fire relief fund? Has he really earned that? The media gave him the credit 100%. In my opinion, it will be quite to the contrary of him getting that credit, in spite of Mr. Haugen – people will continue to play with more drive and passion than in the past. The fact is that the media made it out that he stole from the community and he did not. As Liffrig writes, it takes money to play….for every dollar he spent a portion of that went to the fire relief fund.

    The citizens of Mazeppa and surrounding communities that take time to examine this for what it is – will recognize where the media blew this out of proportion. The others, will just tighten the noose one notch tighter…If this was the day and age of the old West and real cowboys, he would have been ran out of town a long time ago. The town is not going to fade away and neither is he.

    I would give anything to see a do-over of this media clip in which Mr. Hofschulte stands proud and says we are a strong community and will not allow the mistakes of one man affect the well being of this town and its efforts regarding the proceeds of charitable gambling. By no way, will this have a negative impact on the fire relief fund, we firmly believe that we have the support of our community (surrounding communities) to continue to gamble in the 3 other FINE establishments in town. The fire relief fund is supported by the local Liquor store, Leo’s and the Legion. We are very proud to have them on board with us and have their support. That to me would depict a town that stand firm, solid and tall….stand proud Mazeppa.

    Don’t give Mr. Haugen more credit than he deserves. As one wrote before…..Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone!

  23. tax payer says:

    what about the people of Plainview as well? Hagen stole 7K from them? This isn’t abou t Mazeppa’s fire dept. It’s about angela’s school as well…they get alot of money from pull tabs that her “daddy” stole….not to mention the scores of other good things it does for each community…or use to. Ya got to wonder what kind of “teacher” would stick up for a “felon to be” when her father steals money from what would be HER OWN CHILDREN, HIS GRAND CHILDREN….the truth will show the scumbag is GUILTY

    1. Really? says:

      What is it you feel was stolen? (It was not money) Do you understand how pull tab sales work and how the “profits” end up in the charity? It is a very accountable process, the part that is not as easily accountable is the “filling out of the form when a winning is claimed” It is simply a piece of paper that anyone could fill out with information obtained from a previous winning form. There was not ONE dollar stolen from anyone.

      There are other charges that have been made (in the court of law) which recognize fraudulent activity in that as an owner of the establishment you are not able to play the pull tabs, and certainly is not lawful to steal someone’s identity as an effort to conceal the winnings that were made. Those are the charges that have been filed with the courts. Apparently, we are all missing the public record of these “other” charges and the alleged thieving….

      As far as your integrity question about Mr. Haugen’s family members – Shame on you – is the only comment that lends itself to any amount of decency.

  24. ANother TAX Payer says:

    WOW Tax Payer, can we dig any lower than dirt to hit on his family, the word scumbag is that of the writer, Mrs Heitman is a fine respectable teacher, many students enjoy her classes and she makes them entertaining!!! The crap that you are digging at you should go back to school yourself . And for the record tax payer it is HAUGEN living in the same town you should have it correct by now. Again taxpayer the people of Plainview just like Mazeppa have had NOTHING stolen from them repeat nothing, they are just one cash flow short to help with charities! All I can say taxpayer “DO YA HEAR THE MUSIC” HAHAHAHa

  25. mazeppa resident says: not the one on trial son is a student of hers and she is a family friend….if u people want to point yor attention to someone,point it to mr.haugen…please leave all the other family out of this matter

  26. zumba says:

    How low can “taxpayer” get to drag other family members into this discussion? He/she is only showing their ignorance/bias – apparently “taxpayer” wouldn’t support a family member if they were in trouble – perhaps “taxpayer” should review the Beatitudes!

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