Locals appear in court on several tied Austin cases

Published 7:09am Sunday, February 17, 2013

A local charged last month with credit card fraud and reportedly tied to another open case in Mower County pleaded not guilty Thursday to several charges.

Thomas Edward Walsh, 53, of Austin, pleaded not guilty to credit card fraud and check forgery, both felonies, and obstructing the legal process, a gross misdemeanor.

Court complaints allege Walsh was allowed to use a woman’s credit card for minor purchases; however, Walsh lent that credit card to another person, Jose Lopez Soto Jr., who tallied $788 in charges for groceries, hotel rooms and other items.

Another case alleges Walsh deposited a $3,800 check in March 2012 and several days later withdrew $3,000. The check was returned as non-sufficient funds. The complaint adds Walsh’s girlfriend, a joint name on the account, signed the other account holder’s name on the check, but the funds were never in the account. The other account holder said she never would have that much money in her checking. Police say Walsh never tried to rectify the issue.

On Thursday, Soto pleaded guilty to a terroristic threat charge, a felony. Another felony charge for second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon was dismissed.

According to that court complaint, Soto was banging on a window at an Austin home and making threats with an extendable baton. Police say Soto was upset after someone reported he had used the credit card given to him by Walsh.

Police found Soto within a block of that home, along with Erika Ashley Anderson, 25, and arrested them. Their car was later searched, and police reportedly found 2.65 grams of meth, for which they were charged with felony drug possession.

In another case, Anderson was charged with mail theft. That court complaint states Soto and Anderson were at the 1300 block of Oakland Place SE on Dec. 28 when Anderson stole a UPS package containing $1,772 worth of prescription medication off of a porch, from which the theft charges stem.


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