A Moorhead man was sentenced Monday, March 22 in Pennington County District Court for felony check forgery.
Anthony Kayne Johnston, 36, was sentenced to 18 months in prison. Johnston was ordered to pay $210 in fees and fines. The right to restitution has been reserved. He was ordered to provide a DNA sample.
The charge stemmed from a Dec. 8 report to the Thief River Falls Police Department from Northdale Main, according to the complaint. Three suspects traveling in the same van had passed a total of $1,659.02 in bad checks over 12 hours at the business.
In all three instances, the suspects had arrived at the business in a van with no license plates. In the first instance, a man and a woman obtained merchandise and lottery scratch-off tickets totaling $655.42. They had used a check from Gate City Bank in Moorhead. Bank staff indicated that the account was closed.
At 1:24 a.m., the business accepted a check that appeared to have an altered name at the top of “Anthony Johnstonn.” The check didn’t belong to him. The man obtained $387.54 in merchandise and lottery scratch-off tickets. Wells Fargo Bank of Fargo, N.D., indicated that the check belonged to two other people. Neither had that misspelled version of Johnston’s name.
At 7:21 a.m., a woman obtained $112.37 in merchandise and lottery scratch-off tickets totaling $112.37. She had used a check from Gate City Bank. The account had been closed.
At 12:43 p.m., a man obtained $503.69 in merchandise and lottery scratch-off tickets. The check appeared to have an altered name of a second man, and the check didn’t belong to him. Wells Fargo Bank of Fargo, N.D., indicated that the account was closed and belonged to the two individuals whose account was used earlier.
Three days after the report to police, Northdale Square reported that one of the same suspects had attempted to pass a bad check. The man, soon identified as Johnston, walked east after leaving the business. Police stopped him, and he had a checkbook sticking out of his left pocket. He also possessed the crumpled check that he had attempted to pass at the business. Johnston said he and a woman were passing the bad checks and she was no longer in the city. He said the other man, whose name was on one of the altered checks, wasn’t involved.
Johnston said the man didn’t know checks were altered with his name or that his name had been forged on passed checks. Neither the woman nor the other man have been charged in connection with the case, according to online court documents. Johnston said he forged the checks because he was running out of money. He said he had used a typewriter to alter the checks in Moorhead.
The complaint indicated that Johnston personally attempted to pass $1,047.32 in checks and obtained $891.18 in goods and merchandise. At the time that the complaint was written, there were two Clay County warrants out for Johnston’s arrest.
The warrants pertained to two 2014 cases involving felony fifth-degree possession of a controlled substance and felony receiving stolen property.
The complaint indicated Johnston had a criminal history that included but wasn’t limited to, three 2020 Minnesota court cases involving fifth-degree controlled substance crime, contempt of court, and second-degree driving while impaired charges.
He also had 19 North Dakota offenses from 2004 to 2019. Among other cases, they included five cases with theft and forgery charges; three felony cases of issuance of a check without sufficient funds; two felony cases of theft of property; two felony cases of theft and burglary; a felony check forgery case; a case of felony theft, burglary and unauthorized use of personal information; and a case of felony theft by deception.