Man awaiting sentencing for check forgery receives new charges; Allegedly used forged checks at Kwik Trip

Published 8:28 am Thursday, December 27, 2018


Brendan Charles Johnson, 35, of Austin was charged on Friday in Mower County District Court with felony fifth-degree drug possession, felony check forgery-offer/possess with intent to defraud and felony possession of burglary or theft tools.

According to the court complaint, two checks purportedly from a Sterling Bank account in the name of an Austin man were found in the possession of Dixie Lou Denhoff when she was arrested on Dec. 17 at Runnings. Officers alerted a detective who was familiar with check forgery reports from the same account number, which Sterling Bank said did not exist.

During an interview with Denhoff, the detective learned Johnson was involved in the check forgery scheme and that she had transported him to several locations where she believed he had used the forged checks.

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On Dec. 19, law enforcement was alerted by Kwik Trip that several checks with the false account number had been used for goods and services. Kwik Trip showed law enforcement a picture of the suspect, whom police recognized as Johnson. Kwik Trip records indicated four fictitious checks had been processed:

• $72.15 dated Dec. 1;

• $89.75 dated Dec. 1;

• $79.15 dated Dec. 2; and

• $45.15 dated Dec. 3.

Police executed a search warrant on Johnson’s residence in the 1500 block of Fourth Avenue Northwest and located an empty checkbook in the name of the Austin man with a Sterling Bank logo. The account number matched those of the fraudulent checks made out to Kwik Trip and other fraudulent checks received by local businesses. Police seized as evidence a computer, printer, paper cutter, ½ a gram of methamphetamine and a fake driver’s license bearing the name of a Minnesota resident with Johnson’s picture.

The detective spoke to the man whose name was on the checks. He said he previously lived at the address on the checks and previously had an account with Sterling Bank. He also said a former storage unit in his name had been broken into and he believed his old checks may have been in there. He had not authorized anyone else to use his name or checks.

A review of Johnson’s criminal history shows prior convictions for issuing dishonored checks, receiving stolen property, counterfeiting currency, drug possession and burglary. He is also awaiting sentencing for felony check forgery-offer with intent to defraud, to which he pleaded guilty.

Johnson will appear in court again on Dec. 31.