4-state forgery ring turned over to secret service - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

4-state forgery ring turned over to secret service

 

 

CRAIGHEAD COUNTY, AR (KAIT) – As of Friday, an investigation into a four-state counterfeit ring has been turned over to the secret service.

Only a week ago, Matthew and Jennifer Tarwater were arrested on forgery charges after an undercover operation at a local motel revealed manufacturing equipment and hundreds of dollars in counterfeit money, according to Craighead County Sheriff Deputies.

Police say the printed bills are thought to be circulating around Arkansas, Missouri, and Tennessee.

"It (the money) actually feels real and the reason it feels real is because the paper is real currency paper. It's the image that is fake," said Investigator Justin Rolland with the Craighead County Sheriff's Department.

The counterfeit culprits—the Tarwaters—are a husband and wife duo from Little Rock.

"They were able to take a real one dollar bill and they were able to bleach the ink completely off," said Rolland.

Rolland says from there, that blank paper was then used to copy the image that resembles a fifty or hundred dollar bill.

"We contacted the United States Secret Service early due to the nature of the investigation," said Rolland.

A four day long undercover investigation ended with a counterfeit money sting at a local hotel, confiscating $18,000 in counterfeit money and equipment used for manufacturing the bills.

Both suspects were arrested on 18 counts of Forgery in the first degree, and because the money was printed on real currency paper, Rolland says businesses might not realize it's counterfeit.

"Through the course of the investigation, we learned that counterfeit pens, that are used by a lot of businesses, may not necessarily work in these types of bills," said Rolland.

Rolland wants to alert businesses to examine larger bills.  "These bills do not contain a water mark. So look for that water mark because the water mark is still extremely hard for them to duplicate," said Rolland.

Along with the forgery charges, Matthew and Jennifer Tarwater also face charges for possession of meth and drug paraphernalia. Several agencies played a hand in the investigation including the Craighead County Sheriff's Department, Monette Police Department, 2nd Judicial Drug Task Force, and the United States Secret Service.

Rolland says federal charges are also expected. The investigation is still on-going and more arrest could be made down the line.

We will continue to track this story, and bring you an new developments.

Copyright 2012 KAIT. All rights reserved.

 

 

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