The Winchester Police Department arrested four people last night for passing counterfeit $100 bills. On June 29th around 5:30 p.m. officers were called to 1850 Apple Blossom Drive for a report of counterfeit money being passed. Dispatchers provided an officer with a description of a male suspect. The first officer on the scene saw a male matching that description, and made contact with him. The male was identified as Frankie Ramirez, 19, of New York. An investigation revealed that Ramirez had passed several counterfeit $100 bills at two stores in the mall. Ramirez also had hundreds of dollars’ worth of counterfeit $100 dollar bills. Ramirez was arrested and charged with two counts of felony obtaining money by false pretenses, two counts of felony conspiracy, one misdemeanor count of obtaining money by false pretenses, and one felony count of possessing forged bank notes. He was taken to the Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center and held without bond.
An officer on the scene provided information on possible suspect vehicles from prior incidents of counterfeit bills being passed in the city. With that information officers were able to locate a vehicle with New York registration and determined there were three other suspects in this incident. David Pabon, 19, of New York was arrested and charged with counterfeit conspiracy and conspiracy to obtain money by false pretenses. Nicholas Alma, 20, of New York was arrested and charged with identity theft, conspiracy to obtain money by false pretenses, conspiracy to possess forged bank notes, and possession of forged bank notes. A 17-year-old juvenile from New York was taken to the juvenile detention center and charged with obtaining money by false pretenses, possession of counterfeit notes, and two counts of conspiracy to commit a felony.
The businesses involved in this incident were able to determine the bills were counterfeit by using a counterfeit money detector pen and employees also indicated the money did not feel real. The Winchester Police Department recommends that businesses protect themselves by taking these necessary precautions.
Thousands of dollars of the fake money has been recovered. Officers ask that anyone who suspects they received counterfeit money to call the Winchester Police Department at 540-662-4131.