Fake bills were printed on real paper but the print job used ink that was not authentic. Microprinting on the bills confirmed suspicions.
A routine response to a citizen tip in Helper Wednesday led to the arrest of three persons from Salt Lake County for allegedly passing counterfeit money. But it wasn't the "funny money" that originally put them behind bars at the Carbon County Jail.
Helper police chief Trent Anderson said he had responded to a citizen report about a suspicious conversation overheard at a convenience store in town. Anderson tracked down the car and began interviewing the occupants. During the investigation, police discovered that all three were on probation or parole.
Since it is against the law for probationary or paroled felons to associate, that alone was enough to arrest the trio. Taken into custody were Rodney Simmons, 41, and Eddie Albert, 44, both giving Murray addresses. The third person, Amanda Annis, 25, is from West Jordan.
The surprise came when Anderson, during an inspection of the impounded vehicle, spotted a $50 dollar bill that did not look right. It had the number $50 and President Grant on it, the paper felt real, but there was something unauthentic. The ink was bleeding in places and colors were off. It took only a few seconds to confirm his suspicion. The microprinting on the bill that shows up only when backlit said "five."
Someone had apparently removed the ink from the $5 bill and reprinted the blank as $50.
While this was going on, Price police were actively investigating two instances of counterfeit bills passed off in Price stores. Officer Robb Radley said one was reported at WalMart, the other at the Maverik store at 891 E. Main St.
Anderson said he had been talking to Price police captain Kevin Drolc about the arrest and Drolc mentioned his department's own investigation. The pieces fit together.
In addition to the original charges, the three have also been charged with possesion of counterfeit money (forgery), Anderson said. He added that the Secret Service has been notified.
In addition to everything else, Ms. Annis was discovered to have methamphetamine on her person during the investigation inventory, the chief said.