Jessica Martin
Community, News
Search warrant turns up stolen checks, drugs

Suspects cashed checks at RF bank

Three people have been charged with felonies related to identity theft, cashing checks that don’t belong to them and fraud against a bank in River Falls. Authorities conducted a search warrant at a trailer in Cudd’s Court that turned up numerous stolen checks and drugs.

Jessica Anne Martin, 43, River Falls, posted a $5,000 signature bond Dec. 9 in Pierce County Circuit Court on felony forgery – writings or objects and felony fraud against financial institution ($500-$10,000) charges. If convicted, she faces up to six years in prison and/or fines up to $10,000.

Nicole Ann Beil, 33, River Falls, posted a $5,000 signature bond Dec. 9 on felony identity theft – obtain money or credit, felony misappropriate ID info – obtain money and fraud against financial institution (>$500) charges. If convicted, she too faces up to six years in prison and/or fines up to $10,000.

Michael Anthony Clark, 37, Welcome, Minn., posted a $5,000 signature bond Dec. 9 on a felony forgery – uttering (as party to a crime) charge. If convicted, he faces up to six years in prison and/ or up to $10,000 in fines.

According to the complaints: River Falls police were asked to respond at 1:45 p.m. Dec. 6 to First National Bank of River Falls for a fraud complaint from the retail banking and security officer, who said a customer reported two checks had been altered and cashed by people she did not write checks to.

The checks, cashed in-person at the bank on Dec. 5, had been altered and written out to Martin for $2,800 and Robert Olson for $2,500. The original checks had been written out to FedEx for $247.20 and AT& T for $43.62. The victim said she had placed them in a mailbox on Troy Street on Dec. 2 to be mailed.

The bank provided police with copies of the checks and photos from security cameras of the suspects and vehicle. Handwritten driver’s license information was written on the backs of the checks. Officers recognized Martin, who cashed one check inside the bank Dec. 5, from previous contacts. Robert John Olson, 46, Winthrop, Minn., went through the drive-thru to cash a check in a 2012 Audi A6 on Dec. 5. He was in the driver’s seat. He has yet to be charged in this case, but a felony forgery – uttering (repeater) charge was filed in St. Croix County Circuit Court Dec. 22 in a separate case.

Officers found Martin at Valu Stay Inn in River Falls, where she had been staying. She immediately admitted to her role in the scheme and said she just did what Beil and Clark told her to do. She said Beil and Clark gave her the check made out to her for $2,800 and told her to cash it. Martin had met Clark when he was her neighbor at Valu Stay and helped him take care of his dog.

On Dec. 5, Beil drove Martin and Clark to First National Bank and told Martin to go inside and cash the check. Martin said they wanted her to do it because “she is white and looks like a soccer mom.” She said when she got in the car, she thought they were going to Walgreen’s to get groceries, but instead went to the bank. She said she panicked and went into the bank like she was told and cashed the check, near closing time. Beil picked her up near Family Fresh, then took her to her trailer in Cudd’s Court (1450 S. Wasson Lane #10) where they divided the money. Martin was given $1,000, Beil took $1,400 and Clark took $400. Martin gave police $606.91 of the money she had received. She said she had used the other $400 toward her motel bill.

At the trailer, which she called a “trap house,” Martin said she was scared because Clark was being verbally abusive, so she stayed with Clark’s dog in a room. She admitted to doing some meth when she got there and said a lot of meth use was going on, along with drama and fighting. She said when she tried to leave, Clark grabbed her arm and wouldn’t let her. She claimed he also took her phone away from her, but she eventually got it back and a woman she didn’t know gave her a ride back to Valu Stay. Martin said Beil kept trying to contact her to “do another job,” so she blocked their numbers and shut off her phone.

At 12:48 p.m. Dec. 7, River Falls police, Pierce County deputies and a detective from the St. Croix Valley Drug Task Force executed a search warrant at 1450 S. Wasson Lane #10. After knocking and receiving no answer, officers forced their way into the trailer, where Beil, Clark and Jeffrey John Fritz, 35, were detained. All three admitted to recent drug use. Officers found stolen/altered checks in the trailer and in Beil’s purse, along with methamphetamine, cocaine and drug paraphernalia.

River Falls police also investigated a check fraud case on Nov. 4 in which Beil is a suspect. A victim had checks stolen from her residence in Hudson. Beil used the victim’s bank account number and check routing number to pay outstanding utility bills for her own account over the phone at the River Falls Wisconsin Utilities Office.

The trio will next appear in Pierce County Circuit Court later this month for preliminary hearings. Martin’s is set for 2:30 p.m. Jan. 20. Beil’s is scheduled for 2 p.m. Jan. 23 and Clark’s is slated for 11 a.m. Jan. 24.

Nicole Beil

Michael Clark

January 3, 2023