Federal judge: Robert Miell's prison account funds will go toward restitution

Former Cedar Rapids landlord still owes $346,459

(File photo) Robert K. Miell of Cedar Rapids, leaves the Linn County Courthouse Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2004, after appearing in Small Claims Court.
(File photo) Robert K. Miell of Cedar Rapids, leaves the Linn County Courthouse Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2004, after appearing in Small Claims Court.

CEDAR RAPIDS — A federal judge ordered the U.S. Bureau of Prisons to turn over the inmate account funds of former landlord Robert Miell, convicted of mail and tax fraud, to the court to pay his restitution to victims.

U.S. District Senior Judge Mark Bennett on Tuesday granted the request made by prosecutors earlier this month. Miell, 63, serving 20 years in prison, has $3,363 in his inmate account that will be applied to his restitution balance of $346,459.

The prosecutor’s motion didn’t say how Miell racked up that much cash in prison. Many inmates receive money from family or friends and some receive wages from prison jobs.   

Bennett ordered Miell to pay more than $728,000 in victim restitution following his convictions in 2009 by a jury for two counts of tax fraud and in 2010 for 18 counts of mail fraud and two counts of perjury in a damage deposit scheme.   

The tax fraud charges stem from his fraudulent reports to American Family Insurance of more than $336,000 in storm damage at 145 properties he owned. Miell, at one time, was the landlord in Cedar Rapids with the largest portfolio.  

There were 272 individuals identified as victims of the scheme. From 2000 through at least 2007, Miell told renters when they were moving out that they caused damage to the property and that he would keep their deposits — or charge more.

If renters didn’t pay, Miell took them to court and produced invoices from a company called “The Home Doctor” to try to prove the costs, but they were fraudulent.

During sentencing in 2010, Bennett called Miell the “poster child for every landlord that takes advantage of damage deposits” and told him that he had “absolutely no doubt” he was guilty.

Bennett, in ordering the $728,398 in victim restitution, required Miell to pay $547,764 to American Family Insurance, $86,554 to victims identified in the damage deposit scheme and $94,080 to the Internal Revenue Service for delinquent taxes.

Bennett said the delinquent tax amount can’t be classified as restitution, so he ordered the repayment as a condition of Miell’s release.

The accounting records in the case are not public, so the details of Miell’s payments to bring his restitution balance down to its current level are unclear.

Court documents do show Miell made $25 payments every three or four months since 2012 toward his restitution balance and his last payment of $35 was made in July.

Miell is at the Federal Medical Center at Rochester, Minn., and isn’t scheduled for release until Oct. 6, 2026.

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