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Man sentenced in gold, forgery scheme

A man was sentenced today for his role in a scheme to cash a $15,200 forged check and use the money to buy gold in Medford.

Larry Dan Brown, 43, of Perris, Calif., entered no-contest pleas today in Jackson County Circuit Court to charges of identify theft and tampering with physical evidence.

With a no-contest plea, a defendant does not admit guilt but concedes prosecutors likely have enough evidence to win a case at trial. Charges of first-degree forgery and attempt to commit first-degree aggravated theft were dismissed in a plea arrangement.

Brown was sentenced to 31 days in jail with credit for time served, plus 18 months' probation. He was arrested on Oct. 16 and has been held in the Jackson County Jail on $200,000 bail. Court officials said they expected him to be released today.

A co-defendant, 30-year-old Alicia Marie Kelly of Portland, has a pre-trial conference hearing scheduled for Dec. 7. She faces identify theft, first-degree forgery and attempted first-degree aggravated theft charges. Kelly has been released from jail on her own recognizance.

According to an affidavit, Kelly allegedly told Medford police she met Brown in Portland, and he showed her a gold coin. He allegedly said he could take her to multiple states, where they could cash forged checks and use the money to buy gold.

On Oct. 16, the pair reportedly were in Medford. Kelly allegedly went into Rogue Valley Coin & Jewelry on South Grape Street and unsuccessfully tried to cash a forged check worth $15,200.

Police received a call from the business and followed Kelly as she left the shop, quickly went in and out of the Mellelo Coffee Roasters on Main Street and then got into a van with Brown, according to the affidavit.

While two police officers kept an eye on Kelly, a third reported going into the coffee shop and retrieving a check from the trash that was made out to Rogue Valley Coin for $15,200.

Police allegedly contacted Brown in the driver's seat of the van while he was talking on his flip-open cellphone. When police asked him to end the call, he allegedly broke the phone in half with his hands.

Kelly allegedly told police she and Brown had been communicating via cellphone while she was in Rogue Valley Coin & Jewelry trying to cash the check to buy gold. Police then allegedly called a number recorded on Kelly's phone and Brown's broken phone rang.

The owner of Rogue Valley Coin & Jewelry said a man had been calling him for two days before the incident about cashing a check to buy gold. The man asked him how the check would be verified, the affidavit said.

Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-776-4486 or valdous@mailtribune.com. Follow her at www.twitter.com/VickieAldous.

Larry Dan Brown