Suspect arrested in connection with counterfeit money circulating in local businesses

ConnorKalob Martin Connor, 17, of Canadian, was arrested by Lt. Jay Moseley last Wednesday evening, Oct. 16, and charged with forgery, a third-degree felony, following an investigation by the Hemphill County Sheriff’s Office into a spate of counterfeit $100 bills that were passed to local retail businesses.

Connor, who is already on felony probation in Grayson County for tampering with evidence, is being held without bond.

Sheriff Nathan Lewis said his office executed a search warrant on Tuesday after one of the bills was turned over to his office. Lewis said the investigation into the circulation and printing of the counterfeit money continues. “I have called for assistance from the U.S. Secret Service, whose agents will be assisting in the investigation,” Lewis said. “Both agencies are still conducting interviews.”

Lewis also urged local retailers and their employees to be alert and to scrutinize any denomination of bills carefully before completing a transaction.

Canadian Medic Pharmacy reported having received one of the fake bills last Monday after it was passed to a clerk at the drive-thru window, who did not notice the unusual markings on it. It was noticed the next day, however, by Karen Lay, who was going through the cash drawer preparing to make a deposit.

Having succeeded once, the suspect returned to the scene of the crime again on Tuesday and attempted to pass another counterfeit bill. This clerk had been warned about the previous fraud, and immediately recognized the $100 bill as phony. She refused to complete the transaction, and then reported it to pharmacist Brooke Wilson.

Wilson turned the information over to Hemphill County Sheriff Nathan Lewis. Other banks and businesses in town have recently received some of the counterfeit bills, as well, and have reported them to authorities.

This was not the first time this particular crop of phony $100 bills has turned up at a Canadian business. In August 2018, Lowe’s grocery store reported that a customer had attempted to pay for merchandise with one of the fake C-notes—distinguishable by the pink Chinese characters printed on both sides. An alert cashier had noticed the pink markings and reported it to the service-center manager, but was unable to identify the subject who attempted to pass it.

The fake bills are imprinted with Chinese characters, and are easily identified by attentive cashiers. Closer examination reveals a number of other flaws, including duplicate serial numbers. The counterfeit money has, in the past, been sold for as little as $10 per 100 bills on eBay and other online sites.

Originally, bank notes like these were created for use by Chinese bank tellers who were learning how to count American currency. The fake notes are intended to discourage theft by trainees, and are identified, in Chinese script, as “for counting practice.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION

If you suspect you have received a counterfeit note, or have information about counterfeiting activity, please report it immediately to your local law enforcement agency, or contact one of these U.S. Secret Service offices: 210 Park Avenue, #1100, Oklahoma City, OK, 73102, 405.272.0630, or 1205 Texas Avenue, #815, Lubbock, TX, 79401, 806.472.7347.

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