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Nekoosa Native Cleared of Murder Now Charged with Fraud


   Chad Heins, a Nekoosa man who was cleared of a 1993 murder when new DNA evidence was uncovered, is now charged with conspiracy to commit fraud against the government.

Chad Heins

A Wood County native, who spent 13-years in a Florida prison for a murder he didn't commit, is in trouble with the law again.

This time, 39-year-old Chad Heins is accused of taking part in a tax fraud scheme.

He and 5-other people were indicted in federal court on conspiracy to defraud the government two other charges.

Two of those other suspects were Heins' fellow inmates.

Prosecutors say they used stolen social security numbers and forged signatures to file false tax returns.

Heins was convicted of the 1993 murder of his sister-in-law in Florida.

But in 2007, new DNA evidence lead to a judge ordering a new trial and the charges were eventually dropped.

This is not Heins' first run in with the law since he was cleared of the murder.

In 2010, he pleaded no contest to abandoning an animal and resisting an officer.

After police say he and his then-teenage son left a kitten in a garbage can outside a Wisconsin Rapids gas station.

The no contest plea came as part of a deal with prosecutors that downgraded the charge from felony animal mistreatment.

Heins ended up paying a fine in that case.

If convicted of these new federal charges, he faces up to 30-years in prison.