District Court, Kandiyohi County, May 21
n Donato Brito, 33, of Brooten, pleaded guilty Monday to felony charges of identity theft and theft by swindle. As part of a plea agreement, four additional felony charges for financial transaction card fraud, check forgery and offering a forged ...
n Donato Brito, 33, of Brooten, pleaded guilty Monday to felony charges of identity theft and theft by swindle.
As part of a plea agreement, four additional felony charges for financial transaction card fraud, check forgery and offering a forged check will be dismissed and he will make full restitution in the case and receive a stay of execution on his sentence.
Three of the charges were filed after a woman told Willmar police Dec. 7 that she had left her checkbook at the Wal-Mart store and that subsequently there was unauthorized use of her debit card and checks. There were unauthorized charges on the debit card for $211.90 at Cub Foods and $105.95 at Cash Wise as well as $29.87 at Panda Garden. The checks were forged for amounts including $350, $120 and $60. On one of the checks, the driver's license number of Brito had been written on it by the recipient of the check. The complaint also alleges that Brito is the person seen on video recordings of the debit card transactions at Cub Foods and Cash Wise.
The second set of charges was filed after a Lake Lillian woman reported Feb. 14 that her purse was stolen, also at Super Wal-Mart in Willmar. The purse was later found, but cash, a check card and a checkbook in the bag had been stolen. The next day, a check from the woman's account was used to get $200 cash at U.S. Bank in Willmar.
On Feb. 19, a Spicer woman reported to law enforcement that her billfold had been taken from her purse, also at Wal-Mart. The woman believed that only cash had been taken, but later discovered that two checks were missing. The checks were later passed at U.S. Bank, for $1,000 and $800.
An investigation revealed that Brito and two other men had passed the checks. When interviewed, the men told investigators they knew Brito through work and church and that he had asked them to cash the checks because he didn't have proper identification. They both said they had no idea the checks were stolen or forged. The bank had withdrawn the totals of the checks from the men's accounts. Surveillance footage showed Brito accompanying the men at the bank and bank officials identified him.
Briton will be sentenced June 20.
- Darren Dwight Felton, 22, of New London, pleaded guilty Monday to a fifth-degree controlled substance crime.
As part of a plea agreement, a stay of adjudication was recommended by the prosecution. Under a stay of adjudication, the offense may eventually be removed from a person's criminal record if court conditions are met.
The charge was filed after a state trooper was on patrol around 8:20 p.m. Nov. 21 along state Highway 23 and noticed a car parked and running in a parking lot near 60th Street Northeast. The trooper trained his spotlight on the car and saw the male driver throw items into the back seat. Both men exited their vehicles and the trooper saw a green leafy substance on the man's shirt and a large clump of green leafy stuff on the ground at his feet. The man was very nervous and when the car door was opened, there was an overwhelming smell of marijuana. There was a large quantity of marijuana strewn around the vehicle, plus large plastic bags of marijuana halfway tucked into a computer case and another box in the trunk visible from the passenger compartment. Felton was arrested and officers searched the vehicle, finding drug paraphernalia and a total of 80.4 grams of marijuana.
Felton will be sentenced July 9.