Businesses use lots of measures to help detect counterfeit money and decrease the number of times they accept it. For example, lots of stores use counterfeit note detector pens on any notes they accept from customers while others use technology like this cash counting machine mixed bills to help detect the fake notes while sorting their money. However, there has been a rise in the number of fake notes being used to purchase goods in local stores which has raised the attention of law enforcement. Multiple law enforcement agencies, including the Secret Service, followed a trail that led them to thousands of counterfeit dollars, an embossing machine, cash and merchandise.
Detective Jason Hamilton with the Guthrie Police Department responded to a liquor store complaint after the owner claimed five counterfeit $20 bills were used to make a purchase. Surveillance cameras showed two men getting into a maroon Nissan vehicle with silver door handles.
On the same day (August 30), Hamilton responded to the Guthrie Walmart for a report of possible counterfeit money. Store employees presented ten $100 counterfeit bills that were used to purchase three PlayStation 4 gaming systems the day before. Surveillance video showed four males getting into a maroon Nissan vehicle with silver door handles. Two of the four males were identified by photographs as seen at the liquor store.
According to court documents, the counterfeit bills at each location showed no security markings and the view of white paper where the bills had been cut.
Walmart officials in Stillwater put out an alert to nearby stores alerting them of the scam.
Hamilton contacted Stillwater police and learned a large amount of counterfeit money was found on the subjects and inside the maroon Nissan. The men were taken into custody after attempting to return one of the gaming systems with a receipt from the Guthrie Walmart.
The serial numbers on all the bills matched those bills used at the Guthrie Walmart.
The suspects each had a Langston address, including 21-year-old Emmanuel Jones-Thomas and 22-year-old Dejon Lee Cash.
Inside one of the rooms was 29 $100 counterfeit bills were located with the same serial numbers used at the Guthrie Walmart.
In the dorm room of Emmanuel Jones-Thomas, 21, an embossing machine used to stamp numbers on credit cards was spotted with 410 credit cards and 19 different names. The security strip on each card were run by the Secret Service and none of those came back to Jones-Thomas.
In addition, $3,070 in real money was found along with over 25 pairs of Nike tennis shoes still in the box, seven new pairs of Timber Lake boots still in the box, a closet and baskets full of new clothes with tags still on them, 9mm ammunition, scales and a baggie of marijuana and a 55 inch television with plastic still on the screen.
Jones-Thomas told investigators while the items were in his room, a person from Texas would leave the items in his room and pay him to hold the items, according to the probable cause. He admitted he knew the embossing machine and card reader were in the room.
Police also arrested Rebecca Renee Coffer after her named appeared on 103 of the 410 credit cards. She says she was told she could make easy money by using credit cards. She admitted she did not use her banking information or her name to receive the cards.
Coffer, who was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of false making or embossing of credit card, reportedly told the investigator she did not pass any counterfeit money, but heard it was going around the Langston campus.
Both Jones-Thomas and Cash were each given $150,000 bonds after being formally charged on Monday.
Jones -Thomas was charged with unlawful possession of machinery designed to produce false credit cards and false making or embossing of credit card.
Cash was charged with forgery in the second and third degree.
Both are expected back in court on September 27.