Waterford police find $14,000 in counterfeit bills during arrest

Waterford — Police discovered $14,000 in counterfeit $100 bills and numerous gift cards with altered magnetic numbers when they arrested three people last weekend at Wal-Mart as they reportedly were using the fake cash to buy items from the store.

Jamyira Bonner, 23, and Lamichael Black, 29, both of Brooklyn, N.Y., each were charged Sunday with first-degree forgery and sixth-degree larceny. Bonner also was charged with illegal use of a credit card, third-degree identity theft and interfering with a police officer.

Maurice Perry, 27, of Florence, S.C., also was charged with first-degree forgery, interfering with a police officer and two counts of conspiracy to commit a crime.

Police said they were dispatched to Wal-Mart shortly before 5 p.m. on Sunday for a report of a man passing counterfeit $100 bills. When police arrived, they were told that the suspect, later identified as Black, was in the electronics section of the store.

Police escorted Black to the security office, where he told police that he was unaware that one of the $100 bills that he attempted to use was fake, the arrest report said.

Black told police that he came to the store with a cousin in a green Nissan Altima. Police located the car and they saw Perry walking toward it, but, police said, he turned around and started to walk back inside Wal-Mart when he noticed police around his car. He was detained at the front entrance.

Perry told police that he was not involved in the counterfeit scheme and that he did not know Black. But Black told police that he came to the store with Perry and a woman, later identified as Bonner. Surveillance video also confirmed that the trio came to the store together.

Bonner was detained by police as she went to the Nissan.

A review of the store's surveillance video by police showed that Bonner entered the store at 4:30 p.m. and went to the aisle where the store sells vacuum cleaners. She placed a vacuum cleaner in a cart and paid the cashier in cash.

The vacuum was valued at $424.34, the police report said. An assistant manager went to the cashier in the checkout aisle Bonner used and found five counterfeit $100 bills.

The video also showed that Black entered the store around 4:32 p.m. and went to the electronics section. He went to purchase two headphone sets totaling $425.29, but the cashier contacted the manager to check the five $100 bills that he was attempting to use, the report said.

Perry was seen entering the store shortly before 5 p.m. but quickly turned around when he noticed the police presence. 

The three suspects were place in separate police vehicles and driven to the Nissan Altima. Police searched Bonner's purse and found two counterfeit $100 bills.

Police also found a stack of fake cash, totaling $14,000 in counterfeit $100 bills, in the car's center console and 16 gift/debit cards with altered magnetic strips and in Bonner's name, the arrest report said. The counterfeit currency was sorted and many of the bills had the same serial number.

The United State Secret Service and the Connecticut Financial Crimes Task Force were contacted. The investigation is ongoing.

Black, Bonner and Perry all were arraigned Monday in Superior Court in New London. Both Bonner and Perry are being held on $25,000 bonds, pending their next court date on Sept. 14. Black is being held on a $100,000 bond, pending his next court date on Sept. 2.


Twitter: @larraneta


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