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Woman charged with felony forgery after reportedly using stolen identity for more than a year

Mendez-Mejia also faces charges of giving a peace officer a false name and identity theft.

(Mendez-Meija, Patricia Yaneth - #202200525).jpg
Mendez-Meija
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WORTHINGTON — Charges were filed late last week against a Worthington woman suspected of forgery and identity theft.

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According to the criminal complaint, the charges stem from a traffic stop conducted back in June, during which Mendez-Mejia reportedly identified herself as Brisi Herrera. A few weeks later, the Worthington Police Department was contacted by a probation agent representing Herrera, who stated his client was not allowed in Minnesota as per the conditions of her probation.

A still photograph taken from body camera footage of the traffic stop was provided to the agent who confirmed the individual in the photo was not Herrera.

On July 26, officers spoke with JBS human resources and confirmed the company currently employed an individual using Herrera's name at its Worthington location. JBS was served a search warrant to observe the personnel file for that employee, which included signed documents and information belonging to Herrera.

After comparing the employee's JBS photograph to the suspect in the traffic stop body camera footage, they were found to be the same person.

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On Aug. 3, officers observed a female driving into the JBS parking lot, who appeared to be the suspect. The driver reportedly identified herself as Herrera and confirmed she was the driver during the June traffic stop. She was arrested and transported to Nobles County Jail, where she later identified herself as Patricia Yaneth Mendez-Mejia, 24.

At the jail, Mendez-Mejia reportedly stated she had been using the false identity to work for the last year and a half. She told officers she bought the identification documents for $1,000 from a lady in Worthington, which included a work ID, an insurance card, and a birth certificate all in Herrera’s name.

Mendez-Mejia faces charges of felony forgery, which carries a maximum sentence of three years imprisonment, a $5,000 fine, or both. She is also charged with a gross misdemeanor count of giving peace officers a false name — with a maximum sentence of one year in jail and/or a $3,000 fine — and a misdemeanor count of identity theft.

Her initial court appearance is scheduled for Aug. 18.

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Emma McNamee joined The Globe team in October 2021 as a reporter covering Crime & Courts, Politics, and the City beats. Born and raised in Duluth, Minn., McNamee left her hometown to attend school in Chicago at Columbia College. She graduated in 2021 with a degree in Multimedia Journalism, with a concentration in News & Feature Writing and a minor in Creative Writing.
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