Pair arrested attempting to launder counterfeit bills - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Pair arrested attempting to launder counterfeit bills

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - A pair of 19-year-old Cheney residents was arrested on state Forgery charges Sunday evening and now face potential federal charges after they tried to shell out a counterfeit hundred dollar bill to purchase turtle food.

The two were tripped up when they attempted to pass the phony bill at Evergreen Pets on East Sprague and employees recognized that the bill was a counterfeit.

Sonnie Antaraliclaude Woods Jr. and Miranda Frances Smith were arrested Sunday evening after being interviewed by Spokane Valley Police and a U.S. Treasury investigator.

The incident began about 4:30 p.m. when police were called to the pet store. An officer was provided a counterfeit $100 bill by an employee who then pointed out Smith who had tried to pass it.

Police had the woman exit the store and interviewed her at length. Her story was inconsistent about where she had obtained the bill and what she had spent the afternoon doing.

During his investigation, police learned from employees that Smith had been accompanied by Woods who had left the store on foot shortly after the officer talked to Smith.

Ruff used Smith's cell phone to call Woods and get him to return. In interviews with Woods, the officer learned that the two had been to more businesses that Smith had admitted to and had used $100 bills at some of them.

Police called for federal assistance and Secret Service Agent Greg Ross arrived.

Authorities eventually learned that Woods had obtained 35 counterfeit $100 bills and had provided some of them to Smith to pass. She collected $20 for each bill she successfully laundered.

The investigators found three more counterfeit bills inside a car that Smith and Woods had driven to the pet store. They also found evidence that the couple had shopped earlier at several other area businesses.    

Deputies went to those firms and recovered two more counterfeit bills from a Dairy Queen and Dollar Store. One of the bills had a different serial number than the one used at Evergreen Pet.

Ross said that there have been more than 250 $100 bills passed with the same serial number as the one seized at Evergreen. He said there have been more than 200 bills containing the second serial number passed in Spokane and Antioch, California area.

Investigation into the matter is ongoing.

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