Sibley County couple face felony charges
SIBLEY COUNTY — A Sibley County couple suspected of removing checks from rural mail boxes in Moltke, Grafton and Bismarck Townships earlier this year and manufacturing new checks to mirror the stolen checks, face felony offering a forged check and theft charges in Sibley County District Court.
Charges were filed March 7 against Samantha Flom, 32; and Joshua A. Bashans, 37; both of 21747 661st Avenue, Buffalo Lake. In addition, Bashans faces a felony charge of failure to register as a predatory offender.
Flom was released from jail on $1,000 cash or $10,000 bond with conditions that she have no contact with victims of the alleged offense. An omnibus hearing was set for 1 p.m. March 21.
A Minnesota arrest warrant was issued for Bashans March 8. He is on supervised release from prison. His current location is unknown, according to the complaint. A warrant for his arrest was requested in the interests of public safety.
According to court documents, the Sibley County Sheriff’s Office received an identity theft report and a personal loss of more than $6,000 from a Gibbon bank account from a rural Gibbon man on Feb. 11.
An investigation into the man’s account revealed four checks totaling $4,121.52 were written to Flom between Jan. 22-29; a $1,034.82 check was written to Bashans on Jan. 15. In addition, two payments totaling $904.87 were made to Progressive Insurance on Jan. 8 and Jan. 10.
On Jan. 3, the rural Gibbon man sent eight checks in the U.S. Mail but none of them made it to their intended destination, according to court documents. The man believed the mail was stolen from his mailbox and said he did not authorize or issue any checks to Flom, Bashans or Progressive Insurance.
Sibley County Investigator Josh Klein reviewed the checks issued to Flom and Bashans and found them noticeably fraudulent with extra asterisks after the written dollar amount and prior to the numbered dollar amount.
In addition, an extra memo line was found, the bank address was in the wrong location, the pay to the order line was out of line and the Gibbon man’s signature was noticeably different from his actual signature.
The investigation confirmed that Flom endorsed and deposited the four described checks into her bank account and Bashans endorsed and deposited the described check into his bank account. All deposits were done through mobile deposit.
The two payments to Progressive Insurance were used to pay insurance premiums on Flom’s vehicles.
Klein located Flom at her residence on March 6 and arrested her. She denied depositing the checks or insuring her vehicles.
On March 7, Klein talked with Flom regarding an unrelated incident at the residence the couple shared. Klein told her under Minnesota law, Bashans is required to register as a Predatory Offender.
Flom said Bashans was working for a temporary employment agency in the Twin Cities and was not expected home until next week.
On March 8, Flom called Bashans while she was in custody. The conversation was recorded per jail policy. During the conversation, she told him there is an active arrest warrant for him. He is heard telling her he will not come to visit her in jail, he will wire money to her and he was going to get out of town.
Fritz Busch can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.