By Lynda Jensen
WINSTED, MN Two Winsted men have been charged with felony forgery charges in unrelated cases recently, according to separate criminal complaints filed in Wright County.
Dennis Eugene Gieser, 49, has been charged with two counts of forgery relating to a check for $800 that was written against the account of Damon Laukala at Klein Bank in Buffalo.
Edward Victor Zelko, 19, has been charged with two counts of forgery in connection with several forged checks written against the account of Leona Fiecke of Winsted at the Howard Lake bank.
In Zelko’s case, the Howard Lake Police Department was alerted to a report of six forged checks and one automatic transfer relating to a checking account held by Fiecke at the Security State Bank in Howard Lake.
Four transactions were at Casey’s in Winsted and one at Sinclair of Howard Lake. Video surveillance was obtained at both places, in which a suspect was identified as Zelko.
Fiecke told authorities that she ordered two boxes of checks, but didn’t receive them. Later, she discovered unauthorized charges on her account.
Zelko was charged with one count of check forgery with the intent to make or alter a check (valued between $251 and $2,500), and one count of check forgery-possession with the intent to defraud (valued between $251 and $2,500)
Zelko has had a prior conviction for forgery in July 2009.
In Gieser’s case, a check was passed against Damon Laukala for $800. Laukala reported the check, which was made out to his former landlord Dennis Gieser, as being forged to the Buffalo Police Department.
Officers interviewed Gieser, who stated that Laukala owed him rent money and made the check out in front of him while at a Waconia bar, according to the complaint.
However, when cross referenced with bank records, it was discovered that the handwriting did not match Laukala, and that Laukala in fact rarely used checks.
During a follow-up interview with Laukala, he denied being at any bars in Waconia for an extended time period, and expressly denied giving the defendant a check. Laukala further stated that he “knows how to spell, and pointed out the misspellings of the words ‘hundred’ and ‘dollars’ on the forged check,” according to the complaint.
Gieser was charged with one count of check forgery with the intent to make or alter a check (valued between $251 and $2,500), and one count of check forgery-possession with the intent to defraud (valued between $251 and $2,500).