‘Funny money’

Posted November 21, 2012 at 3:33 pm


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Counterfeit bills passed at local businesses

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Albany Police Chief Ernest Guffey held up five counterfeit $100 dollar bills that were recovered last week.

Below, one of the two bills pictured is real and the other is one of the fake bills recovered last week. Although the counterfiet bills look very similar, the texture of the paper and the absence of the watermark is a clear sign the top bill is fake.

The Albany Police Department is currently investigating a case involving a series of counterfeit $100 bills that were recently passed at local business outlets.

According to Albany Police Officer Jim Guffey, Police Chief Ernest Guffey has recovered three bills and that initially started the investigation in Albany.

“Secret Service has been contacted and they are on their way here,” Guffey said.

A couple of the bills turned up at Exxon Gas Station on November 9, 2012. Guffey said he has talked to the person who tried to pass the bill and that led to another lead, which he followed up on.

“I got the call from dispatch and myself and Officer Mark Bell responded,” Guffey said. “I brought the individual to headquarters and I questioned him on it. He didn’t really shoot straight on the matter. After I found out more about it, I brought him back in on November 14 and took another statement.”

During the second statement, Guffey said the individual changed his original story and then gave police a truthful description about how he obtained the bill.

After Guffey tracked down the second individual, he recorded his statement and continued to track the route the bill took to get to Albany.

“I’m still looking for the third individual, but he is on the run because there are warrants out for his arrest,” Guffey said. “All of these are leading back to Byrdstown, Tennessee, to a juvenile who had them in his possession.”

Guffey said the juvenile, whose name couldn’t be released, had control of around $6,000 worth of counterfeit currency. Guffey said the Albany Police Department has been in constant contact with the Sheriff’s Department in Byrdstown and they have a separate investigation ongoing.

“They have approximately $800 to $1,000 of them over there right now,” Guffey said. “They faxed me copies of what they had. It’s basically leading back to one individual out of Cookeville, Tennessee.”

“I would like for the merchants to be cautious of what’s going on,” Chief Guffey said.

“They need to check their hundred dollar bills when they take them in,” Jim Guffey added. “If they come across something like this, we need to be contacted immediately. They need to make sure they know who they are taking it from. If they don’t know, then get a tag off of a vehicle and make sure they check them.”

While two bills were passed at Exxon, Jim Guffey said two more were passed at Quality Express and then turned into First and Farmers Bank.

“The bank sent one off to the Secret Service, but I took the other one for evidence,” Jim Guffey said. “The Secret Service told me they are not going to take the case over, but they will do everything that we need to do. It’s a felony to have one in your possession. You don’t have to a have intent to distribute it to anyone. As long as you have it in your possession it’s a felony.”

Guffey said the charge of having fake currency is labeled as criminal possession of a forged instrument, which is a class C felony and punishable up to five to 10 years in jail.

This isn’t the first time Clinton County has had counterfeit currency. Chief Guffey said several years ago a suspect was arrested and charged after several $100 bills were found in his possession.

Both Jim and Chief Guffey said there is no indication that the bills are being manufactured in Clinton County at this time, but their investigation is still ongoing.

Other cases the Albany Police Department is working on include several break-ins in the area. Jim Guffey said they have arrested several people in connection to several break-ins that involved the theft of electronics.

“Two or three of these have the same MO,” Jim Guffey said. “All they have done has been went in and took the TV’s. Most of them are happening during the daytime.”

Ernest Guffey said they suspect the thieves are knocking on people’s doors to make sure they aren’t home before entering and taking the electronics.

“They are knocking on the doors and if people are home, they are saying they lost their dog or something,” Ernest Guffey said.

Both Jim and Ernest Guffey said they are trying to get to the bottom of the break-ins and if anybody has been a victim of home theft, notify the police department immediately.