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Guilty plea from one of two defendants accused of using dead woman’s checkbook at Mason City business

MASON CITY — One of two people from Latimer accused of using the checkbook of a woman who died in 2016 at a Mason City business has pleaded guilty.

27-year-old Tyler Mejia and 29-year-old Lauren Johnson were arrested in November after authorities say they were at Mills Fleet Farm in Mason City and being watched by a loss prevention employee for concealing unpaid merchandise. The pair then attempted to use a check at the checkout that used a name different from either of them.

Police in a criminal complaint say Mejia told an officer that the check belonged to his aunt and he had permission to sign it. On further investigation, it was found the check was from an account that belonged to a woman who died in 2016, with the account being closed in 2017.

Both Mejia and Johnson were charged with forgery, a Class D felony punishable by up to five years in prison. Court records show Mejia filed a written plea of guilty to the charge in Cerro Gordo County District Court on Monday. A sentencing date has not been set.

Johnson recently had her trial scheduled for March 30th.

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