Two men suspected of printing and circulating counterfeit money in the Quincy area were arrested last week.
Quincy residents Christopher Adam Hale, 30, and Guy Lane Martin, 35, were arrested at separate locations, according to the Plumas County sheriff.
Both men were jailed on charges of being in possession and passing counterfeit money, and possession of the equipment used to manufacture counterfeit currency.
According to Sheriff Greg Hagwood and Investigations Sgt. Steve Peay, the arrests followed several months of investigation by the sheriff’s office.
“It was a very lengthy and well-done investigation by Sgt. Steve Peay and his staff,” Hagwood said. “This was very important to us. Numerous local businesses have been victimized.”
The fake money began appearing late last summer. Local merchants and banks received counterfeit bills in every denomination from $5 to $100.
Although the source of the counterfeiting operation appears to be stopped, Peay said it’s hard to tell how much counterfeit money remains in circulation. He said there might have been “thousands of dollars” in fake bills printed.
“There were fives, tens, twenties, fifties and hundreds,” Peay said. He added that the bills were of “very good quality.”
Peay said the counterfeiting operation was likely related to the sales of methamphetamine.
Hale and Lane were arrested Thursday, Nov. 8, after sheriff’s detectives and deputies served separate warrants at two Quincy locations.
The sheriff said the first arrest was made about 9 a.m. when a search warrant was served at 1750 Lee Road No. 24. Hale was arrested at that location after computerized equipment used in the printing process was discovered.
About three hours later, Martin was arrested at Room 10 in the Spanish Creek Motel at 223 Crescent St.
Martin was released from jail last week after posting $10,000 bail.
District Attorney David Hollister said Hale was still being held because of a probation violation.
Hollister said Hale had a “no bail warrant” stemming from his failure to appear in court as a “post-release community supervision” defendant.
He said Hale is an example of the local impact from the state’s inmate realignment program (stemming from Assembly Bill 109). Hale was released from the state prison system, and is now under the supervision and jurisdiction of the county.
Both suspects were scheduled to appear in Plumas County Superior Court on Tuesday, Nov. 13.
If convicted, they could face between 16 months and four years in county jail.
“The crime of counterfeiting can be remarkably damaging to a small community,” Hollister said. “Its impact harms our businesses directly and every citizen indirectly. We will be seeking a consequence that is consistent with the damage it has done.”
Peay said the investigation that led to the arrests was complicated because most of the people using the bogus bills didn’t know where they got the money.
“There were a lot of innocent people involved,” Peay said, “... a lot of innocent victims.”
Peay said the investigation is still ongoing. But he said there were no other suspects, and it didn’t appear that the local counterfeiting was part of a larger operation.
Peay said the computer and printing equipment suspected of producing the bogus bills had been confiscated.
“My guys did a good job in this investigation,” Peay said. “It was very hard and tedious work.”
He said that because more counterfeit bills are likely in circulation, merchants should continue to look closely when receiving cash.
Although the bills are relatively good quality, they reportedly have a different texture and lack the magnetic strip woven into the paper.
The magnetic strip can be detected with a naked eye when held in front of a light.
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