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Man must pay restitution in check-forgery case

By Janice Gregorson

gregor@postbulletin.com

A former Lake City building contractor has been ordered to pay more than $100,000 in restitution after admitting that he forged a check to get the cash.

James Aldon Parks, 78, who now lives in Prescott, Wis., pleaded guilty to the felony check forgery charge on April 22. He returned to Olmsted District Court on Monday for sentencing.

He was charged last year, accused of passing a check described as either stolen or counterfeited belonging to a Tennessee firm. The $114,563 check was made payable to Parks and drawn on the Union Planters Bank of Collierville, Tenn.

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The criminal complaint says Parks took the check to his Rochester attorney, who deposited it into one of the law firm’s trust accounts at Eastwood Bank in Rochester. The complaint says Parks returned to the law firm several times requesting a portion of the funds be returned to him. Eight checks were issued to Parks totaling $109,563 between April 28 and May 24, 2006.

Local police got involved in June 2007 after being contacted by postal inspectors.

On Monday, Judge Jodi Williamson ordered Parks to be on probation for five years. He was given credit for any time served in jail. The judge ordered he serve an additional 30 days on electronic home monitoring and pay $132 in fines and court fees. He also must do 100 hours of community work service and pay restitution of $114,563.

At the time he was charged, authorities said this was not the first time Parks had faced criminal charges. He was charged in 2006 in Wabasha County with felony check forgery and pleaded guilty to an amended gross misdemeanor theft charge.

Months earlier, he had been charged in Wabasha County with nonpayment, accused of not paying subcontractors for work on a house being built for a Lake City couple. Those charges were dismissed by an Olmsted District judge for lack of probable cause.

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