Women plead not guilty in forgery case
Two Freeborn County women charged with multiple felonies after they allegedly forged more than $17,000 in checks have both pleaded not guilty.
Lilly Ann Garcia, 25, and Irma Aida Sanchez, 27, both face five counts of check forgery-offer/possess with intent to defraud. They entered the pleas Thursday in Mower County District Court.
According to the criminal complaints, on June 21, the women took a $2,300 check to a man who told police he's run a check-cashing business since 2009. Both women had previously cashed checks with him, the man told investigators.
The man said he takes the checks, deposits them into his own account and when the checks clear, the people come back for their money. The man said it typically takes about three days, that he takes a percentage of the check amount and that he usually photocopies the customer's ID card.
The $2,300 check was made out to Sanchez and written on the account of Bridley's Auto Sales in Glenville, the complaint says; the man cashed the check and the women picked up the money three days later.
According to the complaint, on June 28, the women brought in a check for $5,800, also written on the Bridley account, again made out to Sanchez. Three days later, Garcia came to pick up the cash, with Sanchez's permission.
On July 19, Garcia and a male allegedly arrived at the man's business with two more checks on the Bridley account. The man said Garcia gave him a check for $850 and the man presented a check for $8,500.
That's when the man became suspicious, he told investigators, and discovered his bank account balance was short about $8,000. According to the complaint, bank personnel told the man that the checks on the Bridley account had been stolen.
During the course of the investigation, Austin detectives learned the women were suspects in burglaries at the business.
Garcia allegedly told investigators that the checks were from Bridley's owner, who is also their landlord. She claimed the women both worked for the owner, fixing rental houses, doing yard work and cleaning his house. Garcia also said Sanchez works at Bridley's salvage yard, the complaint says.
Garcia then told the detective that she and Sanchez split the initial $8,100.
The owner of the business denied writing the women or the unidentified male any checks, the report says.
Sanchez remains in the Mower County Jail in lieu of $50,000 bail. Her next court appearance has been set for Sept. 20.
Garcia is due back in court Sept. 21.