KPD: Clerk intentionally dispenses funny money as change

Rain Smith • Jan 25, 2013 at 10:19 AM

A Kingsport clerk — accused of intentionally dispensing counterfeit bills as change to customers — marks the latest arrest from investigations of phony currency in the Model City.

Brittany Stafford, 25, of 2985 Ashley St., is the third individual Kingsport police have booked this week on charges of criminal simulation. Her arrest was spurred by a customer of A Super Party, 1225 North Eastman Road, where Stafford was employed.

On Dec. 31 the victim contacted police to report receiving counterfeit bills as change for a purchase, with Stafford acting as clerk. Police say the customer thought the two $20 bills "appeared fake" and requested different ones, with Stafford then handing over four 10s.

The suspicious customer took the bills to the neighboring Food City where employees checked them with a counterfeit money marker. That reportedly revealed they were fake and the victim contacted police.

KPD Det. Martin Taylor says investigators responded to A Super Party and checked currency in a cash register. They allegedly discovered six phony $20 bills, five of which had the same serial number, and four fake 10s with the same serial number.

Taylor says subsequent investigations, which included cooperation from the business owners, determined Stafford was involved in placing the phony currency into the cash register. Evidence was presented to a Sullivan County grand jury and an indictment was handed down, with Stafford arrested earlier this week. She was booked into the city jail and released on a $5,000 bond.

On Wednesday police arrested a Kingsport man who previously fled investigators at a Fort Henry Drive apartment, where uncut bills and materials for producing them were located. And a Church Hill man who had reportedly passed fake currency at two separate businesses was arrested earlier in the week.

Det. Taylor says multiple investigations are continuing with it currently undetermined if, or how extensively, all of the cases are related. Anyone with information is asked to contact central dispatch at (423) 246-9111 or the KPD Criminal Investigations Division at (423) 229-9429.

Funny money is also popping up just west of Kingsport in Church Hill. On Thursday afternoon Church Hill Police warned fake 10s and 20s are in circulation, urging businesses to be extra careful when exchanging cash.

Anyone who comes across counterfeit bills is asked to take note of details about the person who passed it, such as a physical description or vehicle tag number, then contact their local authorities.

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