Charges filed against couple accused of forging checks, stealing checkbook

A St. George Police Vehicle seen at the scene of an accident on S 200 East in St. George, Utah on January 29, 2020 | File photo by Chris Reed, St. George News

ST. GEORGE —  A local woman accused of passing hundreds of dollars in checks at two banks in St. George has been charged, along with an accomplice that also faces felony charges in connection with alleged forgery.

Nicole Neilson, 29, of St. George, was scheduled to appear in 5th District Court Thursday facing three third-degree felony counts of forgery and three misdemeanor counts of theft by deception after the charges were filed by the Washington County Attorney’s Office.

The case stems from a report of a possible fraud that police were called out to investigate. The reporting party told officers they were contacted by two banks in St. George advising that 10 checks were cashed from the individual’s account.

Three of the checks, totaling more than $1,100, were made out to the suspect using the last name of “White,” which, according to police, is an alias used by Neilson, according to charging documents filed with the court.

The bank also informed the customer the checks had already cleared the account and the suspect was given the cash before the bank became aware of the alleged fraudulent activity.

Bank employees also told the customer there were additional checks passed from the same check sequence that were made out to two other individuals, one being 35-year-old Shandon Stout, Neilson’s boyfriend, and the second suspect who remained unnamed in the report.

During an interview with police, the reporting party also told officers they knew Neilson, who had done work at their house, and believed the suspect took one of their checkbooks while doing so.

Nicole Neilson, 29, of St. George, booking photo taken in Washington County, Utah, Feb. 18, 2020 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

The reporting party also said they were aware Stout was the suspect’s boyfriend, but they denied ever writing any checks to either suspect or authorizing anyone else to do so.

Police were provided copies of the checks in question that were collected as evidence while officers responded to the jail where Neilson was already in custody on an unrelated incident.

While speaking to police at the jail, Neilson denied any knowledge of the checks, the report said, and denied receiving money from any such transaction involving checks.

“I had no additional evidence to prove that Nicole was not involved,” the officer noted in the report, at which point he determined there was probable cause to charge the suspect.

Those charges were later submitted to the county attorney’s office for review.

One of the warrants Neilson was already in jail on involved an incident reported Dec. 28 when officers responded to Sunset Drive to investigate a suspicious person report.

Shandon Stout, 35, of St. George, booking photo taken in Washington County, Utah, Feb. 18, 2020 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Police were advised by emergency dispatch that there “was at least one vehicle behind the storage units,” according to the report, but it wasn’t clear what the occupants were doing there.

Officers arrived to find two individuals sitting in a van, one of which was identified as Neilson. A records check revealed she had an active misdemeanor warrant out of Washington City. Neilson was arrested on the warrant and during a search of the suspect prior to transport, she told the officer she had heroin on her person. Officers later found a digital scale that was in the pocket of the suspect’s jacket.

When asked, the suspect told officers she “weighs her drugs to make sure that she isn’t getting ripped off,” the report states.

The suspected heroin was recovered by corrections officers at the jail and handed over to police.

Two of the checks that were written out to Stout, the suspect’s boyfriend, totaled just over $650, and he was later charged with two third-degree felony counts of forgery and two misdemeanor counts of theft by deception and is being held on $11,86o bail.

Stout has had multiple run-ins with law enforcement, including an arrest two weeks prior when he was charged with third-degree felony forgery and paraphernalia possession after he was arrested for allegedly passing a counterfeit $100 bill at a gas station on Green Springs Drive on Jan. 30. He also has an open case from November when he was charged with felony drug possession.

Stout is being held on $11,86o bail and is scheduled to make an initial appearance in 5th District Court Friday, while Neilson is being held on $17,790 and both suspects remain in custody as this report publishes.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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