2 Arrested for Swindle after Presenting Driver's License with Fake Money Order

Created: 11/08/2012 1:39 PM KSTP.com By: Jennie Olson

Two Gheen, Minn., residents are accused of trying to purchase $22,600 in jewelry with a fraudulent money order.

According to the criminal complaint, a man and woman were at Gould’s Jewelry in Anoka on Monday, Oct. 29, and asked if the store did layaways and accepted money orders.

The employee said that they did, so the suspects picked out $22,600 worth of items, including a 3.11 carat tennis bracelet, a 1 carat tennis bracelet, an engagement ring band, diamond hoop earrings, and a 1.053 carat loose diamond.

The suspects were identified as 21-year-old Christine Friend and 61-year-old Thomas Alan Friend of Gheen, Minn.

When the employee took the money order to the bank, it was determined to be fake, with made-up routing numbers and bank account numbers. Thomas Friend’s driver’s license was presented with the money order.

Christine Friend and Thomas Friend returned to Gould’s Jewelry around 4:13 p.m. that day to pick up the jewelry, and police were there to arrest them.

According to the criminal complaint, there was a Hewlett Packard printer and a manila envelope with the name “Gould Jewelry” in plain view in their car.

Christine Friend admitted to police that neither she nor her husband had enough money to buy the jewelry and that the check was created on the laptop in the vehicle.

Thomas Friend admitted to drafting the money order and signing it.

Christine Friend has been charged with offering a forged check and attempted theft by swindle. If convicted, she faces up to 10 years in prison and $20,000 in fines on the forged check charge and up to 10 years in prison and $20,000 in fines on the swindle charge.

Thomas Friend has been charged with check forgery and attempted theft by swindle. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison and $20,000 in fines on the check forgery charge and up to 10 years in prison and $20,000 in fines on the swindle charge.