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Forum staff reports, Published January 28 2013

Plea deal struck in check forgery case

MOORHEAD – An Illinois man has struck a plea deal with Cass County prosecutors in exchange for his cooperation in getting to the bottom of an alleged check forging ring.

Prosecutors say Anthony Santo is expected to receive 13 months of supervised probation after he pleaded guilty to a single count of felony forgery on Monday. Four other similar charges against him were dropped.

Court documents alleged that Santo, who was accused of cashing forged checks at Hawley and Moorhead banks totaling nearly $14,000, told police, “They made me do it.”

Santo, who was charged with another man, Justin Barr, told police they’d been approached at a Minneapolis homeless shelter in late November by a man identified as “Diondre.”

Court documents also state a Clay County detective received information from police in St. Cloud, Minn., about similar incidents involving forged checks that appeared to be linked to the case here.

“It’s a very interesting case, unusual for this area. The feds are continuing to investigate it,” said Clay County Attorney Brian Melton.

Melton said he couldn’t comment on the ongoing investigation, but Santo had been “very cooperative” with law enforcement.

Santo is set to be sentenced March 1.