Duo accused of making fake money in Citrus County

Deputies say they used the money for a month
Posted at 4:08 PM, Aug 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-26 16:47:31-04

Investigators in the Bay area want you to check your wallets and cash registers for bogus bills.

"We know a lot of it was passed, we have a lot of victims that haven't come forward yet that may not even be aware they took in the counterfeit bills," said Detective Chris Holloway with the Citrus County Sheriff's Office Major Crimes Unit.

The money was being manufactured for about 45 days and one of the locations was at The Crystal River Motel off U.S. 19, deputies say.

The motel owner declined to comment to ABC Action News despite the arrest of Tiffany Coldsnow and Lelton Brown.

An arrest affidavit states the couple came on the radar when they paid their motel rent with the fake money. Deputies say when the motel owner went to the bank to deposit it, the bank flagged it.

"The money we are investigating right now is made in an unsophisticated way. It wasn't using special paper or anything like that," Holloway explained.

Crime scene photos of the motel room show ink cartridges, a printer, paper and discarded fake bills in a trash can.

"They were also using fives and tens," Holloway added.

Adjacent to the hotel is an OfficeMax. Investigators say they also found receipts from the store documenting the purchase of the ink, printer and paper.


Deputies believe the fake money has likely made its way into all Bay area counties and possible all over the state.

They've notified business owners to be on the lookout.

ABC Action News showed copies of the fake bills to business owner Ed Brannen. He runs a bait and tackle shop off U.S. 19.

His store mainly sees cash transactions.

"Looks good, don't it?" said Brannen while examining the photos.

In years past, Brannen has been duped by fake fifty dollar bills.

And he knows what it feels like to take the money to the bank to deposit and leave not only empty-handed but frustrated. 

"You don't get it back from the bank. When they get it, it is theirs," he said.


According to investigators, counterfeiters typically trick the eye but can't get past the hands.

They recommend feeling the money.

It's something Brannen does with all tens and twenties.

"If you take a $20 bill and take your thumbnail and rub it across there, if it's not rough, it's fake," Brannen said while rubbing Andrew Jackson's shirt which is imprinted on the bill.

Investigators also advise you to check bills under a UV light for a security strip.

They added, if you don't have one, you can do a finger-saliva test.  If you lick your finger and then rub it on the bill and the bill's ink runs or smudges, it is a fake.

Other disparities to look for include uneven margins, bills with the same serial number and bills that don't show a watermark when held to the light.

Brannen is protecting himself with a counterfeit detection pen.

"If it turns black it's bad," he said.

The U.S. Secret Service also provides online diagrams and tutorials on how to spot fake currency.

If you think you have some of this fake currency you are asked to contact Detective Holloway at 352.726.4488.