Gregory Wayne Newell, 42, of Vadnais Heights, faces one count of aggravated forgery, a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine, and a lesser check forgery charge with a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Crystal Lynn Walker, 29-year-old from the northern town of Babbitt, faces two felony charges, as well: Check forgery and offering a forged check, both punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Newell and Walker were arrested on the afternoon of Jan. 28 after being detained by mall security. At the time of arrest, Newell had another $500 in phony checks in his possession. Walker was carrying $350 worth of counterfeits at the time.
According to the criminal complaint, mall employees told officers with the Burnsville Police Deparment that the two had gone to three different stores, where they'd used counterfeit traveler's checks to make $500 in purchases. In a conversation with mall security, both claimed that they'd gotten the checks from Walker's older sister in payment for a loan.
Walker changed her story on the way to the jail, however, allegedly telling police that Newell was a "big counterfeiter of traveler's checks." Walker told police that Newell, a longtime friend, had picked her up and taken her to a Bloomington hotel room. When she told him she didn't have any money, he said he could help her out and she watched as he printed up several $50 traveler's checks on a laptop and printer.
She estimated that he had about $150,000 in fake checks.
Walker remains in custody at the Dakota County Jail, held on a $100,000 bond ($60,000 with conditions). Newell has been released. Both are scheduled to appear on Feb. 26 for an omnibus hearing.