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Charges: Woman Cashed Niece’s Student Loan Checks

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A Rosemount woman is accused of forging student loan checks from her niece, depositing them into an account and then withdrawing that money at a casino, according to charges filed Thursday in Dakota County Court.

Lisa Marie Paz, 42, was charged with three felony counts of offering a forged check in connection with the case.

According to a criminal complaint, the victim visited Rosemount Police on Jan. 31 and said her aunt, later identified as Paz, took her student loan checks after they were delivered to the residence where they both lived. The victim told police she called the agency which issued the checks after she never saw them to ask when they would come. That’s when the victim learned they had been deposited into a joint account.

The complaint states Paz signed the victim’s name to the back of the checks with her permission and deposited them without the victim’s permission. Three separate checks totaling nearly $7,700 were offered and deposited between July 11, 2011 and Jan. 26 of this year.

Between that same time, Paz withdrew more than $12,600 from the joint account, and all withdrawals were made at either Mystic Lake Casino or Treasure Island Casino, the complaint states. Paz said she believed she was entitled to the money because she had put $6,000 into the account and that about $1,000 of the withdrawals were to cover expenses she had pad for the victim.

If convicted, Paz faces up to 30 years in prison and $60,000 in fines.

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