Attorney: Grazzini-Rucki used donated ‘food stamp cards’ for bail

UPDATE: (8:00 PM, Monday, August 3, 2016) – When asked to comment on the statements from Gary Mogen, who posted the $50,000 bond for Grazzini-Rucki, MacDonald wrote: “it is what it is.” MacDonald added that as the bail bondsman, Mogen “is not concerned with how the cash is raised.”


Sandra Grazzini-Rucki was able to post her $50,000 bail within hours of being convicted of six felonies for deprivation of parental rights, by using donated “food stamp cards” according to her attorney, Michelle MacDonald.

Grazzini-Rucki was found guilty last week on six felony counts of deprivation of parental rights related to the disappearance of her daughters, Samantha and Gianna Rucki. The sisters ran from their home on April 19, 2013, during a custody and divorce proceeding involving their Grazzini-Rucki and David Rucki.

David Rucki was awarded full custody of all five of his children in November 2013, while two of his daughters remained missing. Rucki was reunited with his daughters days after they were found and they live with him at the family’s home in Lakeville.

After the guilty verdict was announced, Assistant Dakota County Attorney Kathryn Keena said Grazzini-Rucki was a flight risk and asked for Grazzini-Rucki to be held in custody until her sentencing hearing on September 21, 2016.

Picture source: Dakota County Sheriff's Office
Picture source: Dakota County Sheriff’s Office

Keena noted it took nearly two months for law enforcement to find Grazzini-Rucki after an arrest warrant was issued for her last August. Grazzini-Rucki was eventually found at the Star Island Resort and Club in Kissimmee, Florida on October 18, 2015, and extradited back to Minnesota to await her trial.

Grazzini-Rucki was immediately taken into custody after Judge Karen Asphaug said Grazzini-Rucki would be required to post bail of $100,000 to be released without probationary conditions, or $50,000 to be released with probationary conditions.

Court documents show Grazzini-Rucki posted a $50,000 bail bond and was released from jail just hours after being convicted. Grazzini-Rucki repeatedly claimed in court that she had no money, income or home.

Grazzini-Rucki criminal defense attorney, Stephen Grigsby, said in court that he was not being paid to serve as her attorney and Grazzini-Rucki had many of her court fees waived after the judge approved her request to proceed “In Forma Pauperis.”

In response to a request for comment about how Grazzini-Rucki was able to post bail, MacDonald said a woman who was at the trial collected donations for Grazzini-Rucki, which included “food stamp cards.” MacDonald said the donations were brought to a bail bondsman by the woman at the trial, but the bail bondsman would not accept payment in that form.

MacDonald said the donations, which included “food stamp cards” were taken to an area bank by the woman at the trial, where a cashiers check for $5,000 was issued for Grazzini-Rucki.  MacDonald said the $5,000 cashiers check was taken back to the bail bondsman by the woman, who then posted Grazzini-Rucki’s $50,000 bond.

Gary Mogen, the bail bondsman who issued Grazzini-Rucki’s $50,000 bond, disputed MacDonald’s version of events. Mogen, who works for Absolute Bail Bonds, said in an interview this afternoon that a man co-signed for Grazzini-Rucki’s bond.

Mogen said the man who co-signed for Grazzini-Rucki’s came to him with the necessary money for the bond, but Mogen added, “where he got [the money], I have no idea.” Mogen said he never spoke with a woman about Grazzini-Rucki’s bond, nor did anyone present “food stamp cards” to him as a method of payment.

MacDonald currently serves as Grazzini-Rucki’s family court attorney. MacDonald was replaced as Grazzini-Rucki’s criminal defense attorney by Grigsby on November 18, 2015 – the same day the girls were found living on a ranch in northern Minnesota by law enforcement, headed by the Lakeville Police Department.

MacDonald was labeled in April 2015 as a “person of interest” by the Lakeville Police Department in the disappearance of Samantha and Gianna Rucki.  MacDonald refused to cooperate with the Lakeville Police Department’s investigation into her possible involvement in the disappearance of the sisters  – even after public statements from her that she would cooperate in the investigation.

Her criminal defense attorney, Stephen Grigsby, said in 2015 that he would advise MacDonald to not speak with the Lakeville Police Department.

Learn the full details of this shocking true crime story by reading the award-winning book The Girls Are Gone which is available for sale through numerous retailers in both paperback and ebook.

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