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Counterfeiters Among Us: Several Palm Coast Businesses Targets of Bogus $100 Bills

| January 23, 2018

One of the counterfeit $100 bills used at a Palm Coast store, showing a somewhat more stupefied Benjamin Franklin than the Federal Reserve would allow. (FCSO)

One of the counterfeit $100 bills used at a Palm Coast store, showing a somewhat more stupefied Benjamin Franklin than the Federal Reserve would allow. (FCSO)

Flagler County Sheriff’s deputies are looking for one or more counterfeiter who’s used fake $100 bills at Palm Coast businesses since December, including Salsa’s, McDonald’s, the Mobil station on State Road 100, and, more recently, Domino’s Pizza.

Some of the bills look more authentic than others, though an image of one authentic-looking $100 bill shows a Benjamin Franklin slightly more stupefied-looking than the old sage ever looked, and other bills used by the counterfeiters were clearly marked “REPLICA” and “FOR MOTION PICTURE USE.”

There was, for example, the case of the fake $100 bill at Salsa’s, the popular Mexican restaurant at Palm Coast’s Island Walk shopping center.

A black woman in a light-colored shirt, black pants and tennis shoes had walked in and ordered a $10 meal. She dropped a $100 to pay for it. The hostess noticed something off about the bill. It just didn’t look real. While the hostess went back to consult a manager to get approval, the woman walked out—without food, which at that moment had not yet been prepared for her.

A Flagler County Sheriff’s deputy detected obvious signs of counterfeit currency: the bill didn’t have an y color-shifting patterns, no raised markings, no security thread, and plate series numbers didn’t match the Federal Reserve seal. The woman who’d tendered the bill was caught on surveillance camera. That was on Dec. 19.

A surveillance camera still of a woman who used counterfeit bills at McDonald's and Mobil on State Road 100.

A surveillance camera still of a woman who used counterfeit bills at McDonald’s and Mobil on State Road 100.

The same day, at the Mobil station on State Road 100, a black woman came into the store, bought two bottles of brake fluid and Tylenol totaling $11.04, then handed over a $100 bill. The clerk tested the bill with a marker. It appeared to be real at first. She gave the woman $89.01 in change (that’s the amount listed on the sheriff’s case report) and the woman left.

Fifteen minutes later the manager from the nearby McDonald’s came in and asked the store clerk to use the counterfeit marker. She had a $100 bill to check after a black woman had paid for food with it moments earlier. The owner of the Mobil station, incidentally, refused to come in to the store after he was contacted by deputies, telling deputies to come back in the morning if they wanted to review surveillance video. (It was about 6: 30 p.m.)

The McDonald’s manager described the woman who used the counterfeit bill as black, with short hair, a do-rag on her head, wearing a grey t-shirt with black leggings, with tattoos on her left arm. The woman wore her hair in a way to conceal her face. She ordered using the kiosk in the lobby before walking up to the counter to pay with the counterfeit bill.

The bill looked suspicious to the manager so she ran it through the store’s electronic counterfeit machine, which at first gave a positive result for it being fake. The machine sometimes gives false positives so she ran it through twice more. Both times returned a negative result, so she accepted the bill for an $8.33 order, returning $91.67 in change.

But the woman walked out without her food and drove off.

That’s when the manager went next door to the Mobil station, and found out that what appeared to be the same woman had used a counterfeit bill there as well.

The latest defrauding of a local business was even more brazen. Employees at Domino’s at Flagler Plaza, across the street from the McDonald’s and the Mobil station, reported getting an order Monday night (Jan. 22) through their online system. That was just before midnight. The order was for a large pizza (toppings not specified) to be delivered at 22 Sexton Place in Palm Coast, where the ordering party noted he or she would pay in cash, in person.

Some of the bills used were clearly marked as bogus. Click on the image for larger view. (FCSO)

Some of the bills used were clearly marked as bogus. Click on the image for larger view. (FCSO)

When the delivery man arrived with the pizza, a black man wearing a hooded jacket was standing in the driveway at 22 Sexton. He handed a “noticeably false $100 bill” to the delivery man, according to a sheriff’s incident report, then ran into the woods behind the house. That proved to be one of the bills marked for movie use only. The delivery man called police and drove back to Domino’s. Deputies canvassed the area where the man had disappeared, but no one was found.

Yet another counterfeit-money case involved a 19-year-old Palm Coast resident who said he put an ad on Craigslist to sell his speakers and amplifier for $1,200. The buyer allegedly met him at a local McDonald’s parking lot, handed him an envelope with cash, and took the speakers and amplifier. When the 19-year-old got in his car, he told deputies he realized the money was fake. He started following the bogus buyer’s car. But that case got murky, as the man and his friend who carried out the transaction—and were handed the fake cash appeared “calm and showed no emotion over the incident” when deputies spoke to them, their testimonies seeming “rehearsed,” according to a sheriff’s report.

In that case, however, deputies were given the alleged name of the person who “bought” the speakers from the Palm Coast resident. But the case is still under investigation, and no charges have been filed.

In a release issued this afternoon, the Sheriff’s Office recommends visiting for detailed information on security features found on United States currency. Counterfeit detector pens are another form of protection available at many office supply stores.

“If you are presented with counterfeit currency, avoid confrontation and call us,” advised Sheriff Rick Staly. “Any physical descriptions or vehicle descriptions of the suspect are helpful, as is surveillance footage or photos you may take. As a witness, you are a great resource to a responding deputy and you could play a vital role in getting these counterfeiters off the street and into the Green Roof Inn.” The sheriff was referring to the county jail.  

When inspecting currency, the sheriff’s office recommends:

  • Use a counterfeit detector pen before handing over merchandise.
    • Check currency security features to ensure authenticity.
    • Do not complete a sale without first confirming currency authenticity.

If you have information regarding the use of counterfeit bills in Flagler County, contact the Sheriff’s Office at 386-313-4911. To remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-888-277-TIPS. You could be eligible for a reward up to $5,000.

Manufacture, possession or use of counterfeit bills is a serious offense and a second or third-degree felony, depending on the circumstances, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. 

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5 Responses for “Counterfeiters Among Us: Several Palm Coast Businesses Targets of Bogus $100 Bills”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Sales staff need to be trained and made to be aware so they don’t accept bogus bills for there companies to take a loss. The Iranian government sponsored counterfeiting of US $ 100 dollar bills at one time and that is a big reason we have seen so many changes to the bills including the blue stripe and various silhouette’s that cant be so easily copied. Iran was trying to devalue our currency by their counterfeiting efforts and I cannot understand why President Obama gave them all of the {Pallets of 100 dollar bills} billions of dollars that the US government seized from Iran after all of the dastardly things they have tried to do to the United States.

  2. Really says:

    Fresh off the printer. You are on candid camera

  3. Brian says:

    Pretty ingenuous – “Hey, I maxed out my food stamp card so I’ll make my own money!”

  4. Just the truth says:

    To be safe start refusing to accept 100.00 bills, asked for 5.00 or even 1.00 bills.

    These are lazy people that don’t want to work a real job to make money. They look for easy way out to cheat hard working people.

    When caught throw them in jail and let them sit there for a good six months.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I guess some see this as the only way to make it around here with NO jobs to speak of available. The fat cats keep them for themselves and create ones for their friends and family expecting all of the rest of us to make it on a fraction of their pay. I guess this too explain why unemployment is down….hahahaha. Only in Flagler County……for such a small place there sure is a lot of drama that goes on around here.

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