Accused serial forger pleads not guilty in latest case

Published 2:58 pm Saturday, October 15, 2016

By Jason Schoonover, Austin Daily Herald

AUSTIN — An Austin woman accused of a string of check forgery and financial fraud cases pleaded not guilty to her most recent charge.

Meranda Lynn O’Connor, 34, pleaded not guilty in Mower County District Court Friday to a felony check forgery less than a month after pleading not guilty to accusations of financial fraud, check forgery and drug possession in three separate cases.

Meranda O'Connor

Meranda O’Connor

Email newsletter signup

In her first trio of cases, O’Connor pleaded not guilty on Sept. 1 to three felony counts of check forgery, two felony counts for financial transaction fraud and a count of felony fifth-degree drug possession.

O’Connor is accused of forging a nearly $400 check intended to buy a vacuum for the Mower County jail, forging checks at Hy-Vee and Wal-Mart, and maxing out a credit card through more than $1,000 in several online purchases before she was eventually arrested after police tracked her whereabouts when she tried to use the maxed out credit card to order from Steve’s Pizza.

But another alleged victim came forward on Sept. 20.

According the court complaint, a man told law enforcement he’d failed to receive a $200 rewards check from his credit card company he was supposed to get, but he’d learned it’d been cashed at Wal-Mart on July 4.

The victim, whose last name was also O’Connor, show officers a copy of the check with the first name changed to “Meranda” and the back endorsed to “Meranda O’Connor.” Officers also saw the back of the check had O’Connor’s state identification number on it and recognized her as being in jail on the other charges.

Police interviewed O’Connor, who admitted the signature was hers but said she didn’t remember forging the check because she was high on methamphetamine and was trying to get money for drugs.

In 2012, she was sentenced to three years probation on one count of uttering altered currency, and she was sentenced to five years probation in 2015 in Freeborn County for offering a forged check.

For all her cases, O’Connor is due in court for a March 3, 2017, pretrial and March 13, 2017, trial.