Not guilty pleas entered in forgery, theft case

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BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A Bismarck woman has pleaded not guilty to using fraudulent letters and a judge’s forged signature to swindle more than $800,000 from people who thought they were loaning her money.

Thirty-two-year-old Autumn Morrell entered the pleas Tuesday to three counts of theft and three counts of forgery. Each felony carries a maximum of 20 years in prison upon conviction.

Prosecutors say Morrell used fraudulent letters from government organizations, some with a forged signature of a South Central District judge, to convince people to loan her money, promising to pay them more in return.

Authorities say Morrell convinced one person to give her nearly $300,000 by telling the victim she was going to collect a large sum of money from Medicaid and needed money to pay some bills.

Morell will stand trial beginning Feb. 19.

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