Man charged with passing bogus bills

Published 11:43 pm Thursday, July 26, 2012

Washington police have caught a man believed responsible for a recent surge in the circulation of counterfeit money in Beaufort County.
Brandon Michael Mizell, 21, of Archibald Road, was arrested this week, charged with obtaining property by false pretenses and possessing more than five counterfeit bills. Mizell used the money to buy items from stores and individuals in the Washington area, said Lt. William Chrismon, spokesman for the Washington Police Department. The number of locations and individuals Mizell allegedly defrauded, as well as the amount spent in counterfeit bills, is still under investigation, Chrismon said.
A press release issued by Washington police encouraged people to be on the lookout for counterfeit currency, as well as to look for telltale features on paper currency like visible watermarks (images visible when held up to the light), micro-printing (very small text, too small to read with the naked eye) and color-shifting ink (inks that change color when the note is viewed from different angles) that are used to make the job of creating authentic-looking bills more difficult for counterfeiters. The latest influx of fake bills in the area was predominantly $100 bills, said Chrismon.
Washington police are consulting with the Department of Motor Vehicles and the U.S. Secret Service in the investigation, according to Chrismon.
“DMV is involved due to the purchase of automobiles that occurred in different jurisdictions,” Chrismon explained.
Chrismon said the Secret Service has been consulted because the agency deals with counterfeiting and often assists by linking cases together based on the serial numbers of counterfeit bills when they are found in other locations. The involvement of the federal agency in a case could potentially mean trial in federal court rather than state court.
Randolph County Sheriff’s Office, Wake County Sheriff’s Office, Greenville Police Department and New Bern Police Department are investigating other cases stemming from the WPD investigation.
In addition to the counterfeit bills confiscated, WPD detectives have also recovered two stolen vehicles linked to the case. Chrismon said more charges and arrests are expected as the investigation unfolds.