Three Massachusetts men are facing criminal charges after police say they used fake money to buy food on three different occasions in January.
Monson Police said detectives arrested 24-year-old Ryan Fortier of Monson, 26-year-old Juan Lopez of Worcester and 34-year-old Jason Arens of Springfield after an investigation into the counterfeit money being used. All three are being charged with possession of counterfeit notes, possession of counterfeiting tools and equipment, defacing notes, and conspiracy.
Fortier and Arens face additional charges of larceny and uttering counterfeit notes.
“I worked as a clerk in an antique store, and sometimes you sell some high ticket items, and we would check with a pen any $50 or $100 bills to make sure we weren’t getting any counterfeit,” said Marilyn McCarthy of Monson.
On January 20, Monson Police say they were called to the Dunkin’ Donuts on Main Street after employees found two fake $50 bills that had been given to them earlier that evening. Video images of the suspects were then obtained and reviewed by police.
The following day, police say another fake $50 bill was used for payment at the drive-thru of the same Dunkin’. Officers obtained more images, this time of a Chevy pick-up truck, which had a connection to a Washington Street home.
While investigating, Monson detectives say they spotted a pizza delivery being made to the Washington St. home connected to the Chevy pick-up truck.
Detectives later realized the payment for the pizza was made using another $50 bill with the same serial number as the bills previously used at Dunkin’. That serial number is ‘MC 20525784 A.’
On January 22, a search warrant was approved for the Washington St. home., where police say they had “interrupted an active counterfeiting operation leading to the seizure of additional non-genuine bills and tools used to manufacture the bills.”
Fortier is being held without the right to bail while bail was set at $10,000 for Lopez and Arens.
Monson Police say they are aware of the existence of more fake $50 bills with the same serial number mentioned above, used at different locations in Brimfield and Palmer.
Anyone with information regarding the case or if anyone believes they were given a fake bill with that serial number is asked to call Detective Adam Szymanski at 413-893-9500 ext. 116.
The Brimfield Police Department and the United States Secret Service assisted Monson Police with the arrest.