A Richfield woman has been charged with trying to cash an apparently stolen check at a bank in West St. Paul in what she described to police as a “getting money scheme.”
Nina Ujunwa Mbachu, 19, is charged with offering a forged check, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
According to the criminal complaint, West St. Paul police were called to a bank on Sept. 12 after an employee reported someone trying to cash a phony check.
Employees told officers that a woman, later identified as Mbachu, had attempted to open a bank account with a $450 check drawn on a closed account. The check, payable to Mbachu, was drawn on an account that was closed at a different bank in May because it was almost $5,000 overdrawn.
Police contacted the account holder, who said he didn’t know Mbachu and hadn’t written a check to her. Mbachu told officers that she would be able to identify him, but when police showed her a photo lineup that included a picture of the man, she did not recognize him, according to the complaint.
Mbachu told police that she had gone to the Minneapolis Public Library earlier that day and met a friend, then went with him and another man – whom she identified as Chris and Shawn – to run errands.
Mbachu spoke to the men about needing money, and she said there were about six people in the car who were involved in a “getting money scheme,” according to the complaint, though she denied knowing anything about the scheme.
The driver of the car issued a check to Mbachu so she could get some money, the complaint says. She said he had received the check from another man.
Mbachu said the plan was for her to go into the bank and deposit the check, and admitted that she had been involved in a similar transaction earlier and had earned between $30 and $50 for her participation, according to the complaint.
Mbachu said the people in the car parked across the street from the West St. Paul bank and waited for her to open an account.
Mbachu is scheduled to make a first appearance on the charge Nov. 26 in Dakota County District Court in Hastings.