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St. Paul woman pleads guilty to selling fake insurance cards at city job

A St. Paul woman pleaded guilty Tuesday to selling fake insurance cards while working at the city's Department of Safety and Inspections.

Natasha Howard, 36, pleaded guilty in Ramsey County District Court to one count of aggravated forgery of a document. As part of her plea, another identical count will be dismissed.

Howard's sentence will be toward the low end of sentencing guidelines, and she could get a stay of imposition on her time. She could also be eligible to serve her sentence through community service.

Sentencing is scheduled for August 27.

Howard began working for St. Paul's DSI in 2001. When she was charged with the crimes in May, she was on leave from her job as a customer service specialist. Her employment status Tuesday was unclear.

According to the complaint filed against Howard: Co-workers grew suspicious of Howard's activity, and the Minnesota Department of Commerce Fraud Bureau conducted a sting. An undercover agent purchased a false insurance card from Howard for $60 at her workplace in April.

Last week to enter this year's Knight Green Line Challenge in St. Paul

This is the last week to submit ideas for the second year of the Knight Green Line Challenge, a three-year competition to fund the best ideas to enliven St. Paul neighborhoods along the light-rail line.

Any person, business or nonprofit is eligible to enter the competition. There are two rules: projects must take place in and benefit one of six St. Paul neighborhoods along the Green Line (downtown, Frogtown/Thomas-Dale, Hamline Midway, St. Anthony Park, Summit-University or Union Park); and the ideas must energize current or future residents, expand economic opportunity, or strengthen civic engagement.

Total funding for the three-year project amounts to $1.5 million, with individual grants in the past ranging from $1,000 to $75,000. Projects will be judged on their potential impact, proximity to the Green Line and feasibility.

For an application and more information, go to www.knightgreenlinechallenge.org/. Applications must be submitted by noon on Friday.