Woman pleads guilty to writing bad checks

Published 9:35 am Friday, January 27, 2017

An Albert Lea woman accused of writing multiple fraudulent checks last year pleaded guilty to felony issuance of a dishonored check Wednesday in Freeborn County District Court.

Sentencing for Melissa Lynn Hernandez, 42, is scheduled for April 13.

Court documents state Hernandez was charged after an Albert Lea detective responded to a report of suspected check forgery Aug. 1.

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Surveillance video reportedly showed Hernandez offer checks in the amount of $476.69; two checks for $140.80 each; and checks for $120, $59.20, $43.46 and $30 that were either fraudulent or taken from accounts with insufficient funds.

Court documents state Heather Brigston was arrested in connection for offering forged and dishonored checks at the same business. 

A search of  Brigston’s van reportedly netted a starting kit of check blanks bearing Hernandez’s name and the checking account information where the insufficient funds were drawn from and similar fraudulent payroll checks, which were similar to what Hernandez had cashed the day before.

Brigston was placed on probation for up to 10 years last month after pleading guilty to possessing with the intent to offer a forged check in October in connection with the case.

Ryan Dean Johnson and Elyse Staley are each charged with offering a forged check, and Erin Carlson has been charged with felony offering a forged check and felony controlled substance possession in connection with the case.

Hernandez also pleaded guilty to gross misdemeanor issuance of a dishonored check Wednesday in a separate file.

Sentencing on that file is also scheduled for April 13.

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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