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Nine charged with cashing forged payroll checks at Minn. casino

GRANITE FALLS, Minn.—Nine people are charged with cashing, or attempting to cash, nearly $18,000 in forged payroll checks at a local casino.

The counterfeit checks, which came from a variety of west central Minnesota businesses, were presented at Prairie's Edge Casino near Granite Falls, Minn., between May 27 and June 12 of 2017.

Charges were filed against the individuals in January, and they were all scheduled to make their first appearances Tuesday, Feb. 20, in Yellow Medicine County District Court. However, at least two individuals were unable to make their court appearance because of icy roads.

Although the dollar amounts of the counterfeit checks varied from case to case, other details were very similar.

According to the police reports, after the first counterfeit checks were cashed at Prairie's Edge, either the banks or the businesses notified the casino that the checks were fraudulent.

The companies whose names were on the checks all said they had not issued the checks.

In all but one case, the business owners said the individuals who had presented the checks to be cashed did not work for their companies.

After the casino became aware of the counterfeit checks, they refused to cash other suspect payroll checks and authorities were notified when they were presented.

Those charged include:

  • Jennifer Lynn Kronke, 42, of Tyler, who is charged with six felonies, including two counts of check forgery, two counts of offering a forged check and two counts of possession of a counterfeit check.

According to the complaint filed against her, Kronke allegedly cashed two counterfeit checks totalling $6,255 that purportedly were disbursed from Buyssee Roofing System and Sheet Metal of Marshall, Minn., where she had reportedly worked at the time.

  • Blake Gordon Rolfes, 24, of Willmar, Minn., is charged with three felonies, including one count of check forgery, one count of offering a forged check and possession of a counterfeit check. Rolfes allegedly cashed a $991.48 counterfeit payroll check from Mycogen Seeds of Olivia, Minn.
  • Stephanie Lee Nichols, 27, of Willmar, is charged with three felonies, including one count of check forgery, one count of offering a forged check and possession of a counterfeit check. She allegedly cashed a $972.17 payroll check from Luther Haven Nursing Home.
  • Geoffrey Alan Irwin, 26, of Willmar, is charged with three felonies, including one count of check forgery, one count of offering a forged check and possession of a counterfeit check. He is charged with allegedly cashing a $997.26 counterfeit payroll check from Martin Trucking LLC of Granite Falls.
  • Francisco Vallejo, 45, of Willmar, is charged with three felonies, including one count of check forgery, one count of offering a forged check and possession of a counterfeit check. He is charged with allegedly cashing a $978.23 counterfeit payroll check from Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative of Renville and a $967.80 counterfeit check from Hefty Seed Company of Olivia.
  • Martin Bravo Jr., 24, of Fridley, is charged with three felonies, including one count of check forgery, one count of offering a forged check and possession of counterfeit check. He is charged with allegedly cashing two counterfeit payroll checks — $927.17 and a $986.56 — from Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative in Renville and a $986.45 check from Hefty Seed Company in Olivia.
  • Adrian John Robledo, 32, of Faribault, Minn., is charged with two felonies, including check forgery and offering a forged check. He allegedly attempted to cash a $989.48 counterfeit payroll check from Farmers Union Industries in Redwood Falls, Minn., and a $976.59 check from Morton Building Inc. in Redwood Falls.
  • Jorge Anibal Soto Jr., 20, of Chicago, was charged with two felonies, including check forgery and offering a forged check. He allegedly attempted to cash a $758.59 counterfeit payroll check from Hefty Seed Company in Olivia.
  • Yolanamarie Radzhabov, 28, of Willmar, is charged with two felonies, including check forgery and offering a forged check. She allegedly attempted to cash a $983.49 counterfeit payroll check from Northland Lumber and Supply of Redwood Falls.
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