Barron County

Two arrested after bones identified

Two arrests have been made in connection with the death of a Minnesota man whose remains were found in Barron County in 2017.

In a Nov. 19 press release, Scott County Minnesota Sheriff Luke Hennen announced two arrests were made regarding the death of Gary Albert Herbst, 63, Elko New Market, Minnesota.

Herbst was reported as a missing person to the Elko New Market Police Department in 2014. His remains were later found in Maple Grove Township south of Barron, Wisconsin in 2017, but not identified as his until June 2020 with the help of the DNA Doe project.

Nov. 19, Scott County Sheriff Detectives arrested Connie Lou Herbst, 62, of New Prague, Minnesota, and Austin James Herbst, 26, of Elko New Market, Minnesota, with charges of Second Degree Murder.

“These arrests in this cold case were the result of tremendous multiagency teamwork, spanning across state lines,” said Sheriff Luke Hennen.

This is an ongoing investigation.

The Scott County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the Barron County Sheriff’s Office, State of Wisconsin Department of Justice Division and Criminal Investigation, Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, New Prague Police Department, and the Elko New Market Police Department.


BBB Scam Alert: Student debt forgiveness – for a fee?

Navient has more than 10 million student loan clients and recently settled a student loan forgiveness lawsuit. The results of the settlement won’t affect what individual borrowers owe. However, scammers were quick to notice this news item and are now targeting borrowers with false claims of debt forgiveness – for a fee. Here’s what you need to know.

How the Scam Works:

You receive a call from a person claiming to represent Navient, a student loan servicing company. They explain that as a part of a lawsuit settlement, your student debt is partially or completely forgiven. Of course, you’ll need to confirm your personal information and pay a fee to “transfer” the debt from Navient to “the Department of Education” or another official-sounding organization. These claims are based on actual procedures you may in fact qualify for, but this unsolicited caller is not working in an official capacity or related to any of the organizations cited in the call.

The caller explains the fees necessary, usually on a monthly basis, then request either debit or credit card information. Then, they will begin making withdrawals according to the payment plan you agreed to. Many consumers notice something is wrong when their Navient loan payment continues to be required, even after setting up payments with the new company.

Navient customers will not receive a phone call offering to transfer your loan. If you engage with these con artist callers, you could compromise your personal information and lose money as well. Instead, look for other options such as the Public Service Loan Forgiveness and Department of Education for deferral or other information in relation to your type of loan.

How to Avoid the Scam:

Understand how the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program works. You can request information from your servicer, such as Navient, about potential student loan forgiveness programs, but it’s important to know the basic requirements of the program – you must have Direct Loans and make 10-years of qualifying monthly payments under certain payment plans while employed by an eligible nonprofit or government organization. The government contracts with one specific servicer, FedLoans, to determine eligibility.

Don’t take unsolicited callers at their word. Remember that legitimate businesses and government offices do not call people without their permission. If you receive a call out of the blue, don’t be quick to give out your personal information, even if the caller offers you a great deal.

When in doubt, hang up. If you aren’t sure about a caller and their claims, ask for a call back number, hang up and do your research. A little digging will usually reveal if you were speaking with a legitimate company or not.

Visit official websites to learn about loan forgiveness. You can find out more about whether you qualify for loan forgiveness by visiting the Federal Student Aid website and Navient’s official website.

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