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Bank employees rejected attempts to collect money from suspicious checks

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FARMINGTON — An Aztec woman is accused of forging three checks worth a total of about $21,300 in an attempt to fraudulently obtain the money from three organizations, including a church.

Michelle Nix, 40, is accused of three third-degree felony counts of forgery and three fourth-degree felony counts of attempted fraud, according to the criminal complaint.

Maggie Shepard, a communication specialist for the New Mexico Law Offices of the Public Defender, did not respond to a request for comment by deadline.

A Farmington Police Department detective spoke to a manager for Four Corners Community Bank on Dec. 31, about Nix allegedly trying to deposit worthless and forged checks.

A community service officer previously spoke to the bank manager on Sept. 19, who was told branches in Farmington and Aztec reported Nix came in attempting to cash checks worth a large amount of money and became hostile when she was denied.

Bank employees had placed holds on the checks when they were deposited so the bank could verify the funds. No funds were successfully collected, as the checks were denied during the verification process. 

  The detective learned a $12,000 check from California-based Hanmi Bank, a $6,385 check from a firm called Oceanair Inc. and $2,942 check from Bethany Reformed Church were allegedly forged by Nix. The total amount was about $21,300 for the three checks, the court document stated.

The affidavit did not include additional information on the three organizations.

The alleged incidents occurred between July 16 and Sept. 6. All three organizations told the detective the checks were fraudulent.

Two employees from the Aztec bank branch identified Nix from a photo lineup.

Nix was released on her own recognizance on Feb. 17 from the San Juan County Adult Detention Center.

Hunter Hoaglund, Nix's attorney, filed a motion for continuance on Feb. 26, the day of her previously scheduled preliminary hearing.

The defendant's preliminary hearing is set for the morning of May 27 in Farmington Magistrate Court.

Joshua Kellogg covers breaking news for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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