July 06, 2010

Michelle VanRiper Won’t Let A Good Crisis Go To Waste - Charged With Forging Checks Found In Tornado Debris

Michelle VanRiper Facebook

Albert Lea, Minnesota (The Weekly Vice) - Michelle Marie VanRiper, a 31-year-old Albert Lea woman, was jailed after she allegedly forged checks that she stole from a deceased man.

According to Albert Lea police, Garland Graves died in March, leaving his personal possessions to his daughter Bambi - whose home was ultimately destroyed in a recent tornado.

Investigators believe VanRiper found the checks that Graves left behind while she sifted through the rubble of the tornado's aftermath.

The checks curiously surfaced when VanRiper reportedly passed one of the dead man's checks at a local Kwik Trip convenience story. Detectives were alerted again on Saturday when VanRiper attempted to pass another check at a local gas station. Detectives tracked VanRiper down and took her into custody.

VanRiper was booked into jail and charged with one count of felony check forgery. She faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. She is also under investigation for a separate ring of forgeries earlier in June.

Detectives say VanRiper was under investigation for alleged forgeries prior to the check passing incident.

Minnesota state officials encourage any victims of the recent tornadoes to closely monitor their credit reports.

Mandi Milenko
The Weekly Vice

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