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Michelle Marie VanRiper charged with forging tornado checks

An Albert Lea woman wanted to turn a twister into a cash cow
An Albert Lea woman wanted to turn a twister into a cash cow
Screen shot via YouTube

Some people looked at the death and destruction wreaked by tornadoes this month and saw a crisis.  Michele Marie VanRiper, a 31-year-old from Albert Lea, apparently saw an opportunity.

The Albert Lea Tribune is reporting that VanRiper, who has already racked up six check-fraud complaints in the last 13 years, was arrested last weekend after trying to pass a check belonging to Garland Graves.

Graves had died several months ago, but his checks were being stored at his daughter's house. Until, that is, his daughter's house was leveled by a tornado June 17. Police say VanRiper found the checks while scavenging through the wreckage left by the tornado.

If convicted, VanRiper could get five years in prison.


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