Woman gets probation for writing bad checks

Published 10:53 pm Friday, April 14, 2017

An Albert Lea woman accused of writing multiple fraudulent checks last year was placed on probation for up to five years Thursday in Freeborn County District Court.

Melissa Lynn Hernandez, 42, was sentenced after pleading guilty to felony issuance of a dishonored check in January. She was ordered to participate in 80 hours of Sentence to Service work.

Court documents state Hernandez was charged after an Albert Lea detective responded to a report of suspected check forgery Aug. 1, 2016.

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Surveillance video 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.

A search of Heather 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 late last year after pleading guilty to possessing with the intent to offer a forged check in connection with the case.

Erin Carlsen is charged with felony offering a forged check in connection with the case. A jury trial is scheduled to start May 23.

Elyse Staley pleaded guilty to gross misdemeanor offering a forged check, and Ryan Dean Johnson pleaded guilty to felony offering a forged check in connection with the case.

Sentencing for them is scheduled for May 4.

One count of felony offering a forged check Hernandez was charged with was dismissed at sentencing. She was placed on supervised probation for two years in a separate file for gross misdemeanor issuance of a dishonored check.

About Sam Wilmes

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

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