Email studied in case of businessman accused of stealing from clients

JACKSON — A new email that surfaced in the massive theft case against Michael Lynch has investigators questioning whether the sender is the defendant himself.

The letter is signed by a man claiming to be a private investigator, a person the Teton County Sheriff’s Office isn’t sure exists. Regardless, the email violates a no-contact order that prohibits Lynch from contacting his ex-girlfriend, who is named as a victim in the criminal case against him. The Jackson businessman is accused of stealing upwards of $100,000 worth of high-dollar items from his customers, most of which have been recovered by detectives.

The email was sent to Lynch’s ex-girlfriend Dec. 1, when he was out on bond. Previously, when police arrested Lynch on a warrant in July, the officers also arrested his then-girlfriend. But charges against her were later dismissed, and she was named a victim in a domestic battery charge against Lynch.

The Dec. 1 email urges the ex-girlfriend not to cooperate with law enforcement.

“The cops seized this opportunity to practice scare tactics on you, which consisted of lies leading you to believe that they could charge you with connections of multiple crimes, how your life would be ruined, falsely leading you to believe Mike is a person you don’t even know who’s evil,” the email says.

The email also warns, “keep the cops out of this,” and “the truth will come out.” It is signed by a purported private investigator.

“We question the origin of the email,” Sgt. Clay Platt said.

Even if the email was sent by a third party, indirect communication on behalf of the defendant is a violation of the court’s no-contact order.

Lynch was arrested Dec. 12 in Victor, Idaho, on another no-contact order violation, when deputies said he texted a witness in the case who he was ordered to not talk to during a pretrial conference. Investigators also found Lynch’s GPS ankle monitor under his bed in a Victor motel. Investigators believe he cut off the bracelet.

Lynch’s court-appointed attorney, Elisabeth Trefonas, told the court Thursday that her client was confused about a motion she made to relieve Lynch of the ankle monitor.

“He took my motion as an order,” Trefonas said. “He says his ankle monitor came off when he was putting on his work boot.”

Lynch, 36, faces charges of aggravated burglary, four counts of felony theft, burglary, two counts of forgery, two counts of domestic battery, unauthorized use of personal identifying information, and aggravated assault and battery. He remains in the Teton County Jail with a probation revocation hearing set for January.