Nathan James Fraley

Nathan James Fraley

POCATELLO — A 30-year-old local man has been charged with two felony counts of forgery after police say he attempted to pass two fraudulent checks at a Pocatello credit union late last month.

Nathan James Fraley, of Pocatello, faces up to nearly three decades in prison and a fine of up to $100,000 if convicted of the two felony forgery charges, which were filed on Nov. 4 following a Pocatello police investigation, according to charging documents the Idaho State Journal obtained this week.

The police investigation began on Oct. 29 when a detective received a report from the accountant of Molinelli’s Jewelers regarding two checks that appeared to be fictitious, police said.

On Nov. 1, a detective contacted the jewelry store’s accountant and owner and was informed that two checks were issued to Fraley — one for nearly $900 for precious metals and another titled payroll for $1,600, police said.

The owner of Molinelli’s told police that both of the checks that were supposedly issued to Fraley were still in his possession, which led him to believe the checks had been fraudulently created, police said. Both of the checks were cashed at Washington Federal Credit Union on Yellowstone Avenue in Pocatello, the store owner told police.

The detective contacted the credit union and learned both checks had been deposited into Fraley’s account and that he later withdrew nearly all of the funds, police said. Police requested and were provided security camera footage that showed Fraley inside the credit union depositing the checks, police said.

On Nov. 2, Pocatello police learned Fraley had been arrested on an outstanding warrant in relation to a case filed in Bannock County in October in which he was charged with two counts of felony possession of a controlled substance and an enhancement for being a persistent violator. Fraley was booked into the Bannock County Jail on Nov. 2.

The detective contacted the jail to set up an interview with Fraley and was informed Fraley was “very high” and “passed out,” police said.

On Nov. 3, the detective responded to the jail and interviewed Fraley. During the interview, Fraley said he received the checks from a man he did some work for whom he met on Craigslist, according to police. When the officer inquired further, Fraley asked for an attorney and the interview ended.

Fraley was then charged with the two felony counts of forgery and remained incarcerated at the jail.

He appeared in front of 6th District Judge Todd Garbett for an arraignment hearing on Nov. 4, during which his bond was set at $10,000.

Fraley also faces up to 14 years in prison and a fine of up to $30,000 if convicted of the two felony drug possession charges. The persistent violator charge carries an additional maximum penalty of no less than five years and up to life in prison.

Fraley is due back in court on Nov. 15 for a preliminary hearing in which prosecutors will attempt to prove there is enough evidence against him to elevate the case from the magistrate to district court for trial.