MT. VERNON — Mt. Vernon Chief of Police Chris Mendenall says counterfeit bills circulating in the city earlier this week is an isolated incident, and more than likely, is the work of one individual.
“This is an ongoing problem that we deal with a few times a year,” Mendenall said Thursday. “They circulate bills, usually in small denominations, and they’re gone.”
Mendenall said this week’s incidents involve deposits made to a pair of banks from one of the Huck’s convenience stores, IGA, and a local motel. Earlier rumors suggested every bank in town had received counterfeit bills.
“We had a guy come into town and pass a few bills, which were incorporated into deposits,” Mendenall explained. “It’s an isolated incident.” Mendenall added the investigation has been turned over to the Secret Service.
News of the counterfeit bills was first reported to the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce which alerted the business community of the fraudulent activity.
“It’s a strange situation,” said Chamber Executive Director Brandon Bullard. “We got a telephone call late Tuesday afternoon, early evening, from a local bank that a security deposit had been compromised with counterfeit bills.”
All of the bills were in $20 denominations, according to Bullard.The fake bills are all marked with the same serial code: GJ40685327A. Officials are asking store clerks to be on the lookout for the bills.
“Our Chamber has a close knit network and we got several calls Wednesday. Hopefully, this kind of thing doesn’t happen to local retailers. If you know what to look for it should be easy to track,” Bullard said.
“Past history shows these individuals like to blanket an area as fast as they can, and then move rapidly to another venue,” Bullard said, adding, “We’ve received good news coverage on this, so hopefully, we’ll be able to run this individual or group out of town.”