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Secret Service Called on Cornelia Case

Tuesday, September 29, 2009 9:17 AM EDT Cornelia Police Chief Rick Darby lays out the 30 high-quality counterfeit $100 bills recovered from a Lula woman at Walmart on Saturday. The counterfeit money, believed to have been printed in Nigeria, now is under investigation by the United States Secret Service. ROB MOORE/Staff Takes over investigation into counterfeit money By ROB MOORE The United States Secret Service and Cornelia Police Department have been busy investigating a high-quality counterfeit money case. According to Cornelia Police Chief Rick Darby, on Saturday officers were called to Walmart regarding a forgery call. When the officer arrived, he was told that a woman had tried to purchase a money gram with 30 counterfeit $100 bills. The woman, 45-year-old Peggy Lisa Hamby of Lula, was charged by Cornelia police with first-degree forgery. Hamby agreed to speak to Officer Greg Chastain without an attorney present and said she had gotten the money from Christian Odusanya from Nigeria, the incident report states. “Basically, officers notified the Secret Service and subsequently [Hamby] agreed for them to take some items from her home in reference to the forgery,” Darby said. “We retrieved $3,000 there [at the store] and the Secret Service retrieved an additional $2,000 as well as numerous other fraudulent financial instruments [at the home],” Darby said. “The case has been turned over to the Secret Service.” Darby said the money is believed to have been printed on a press in Nigeria. “According to the Secret Service, this is the best counterfeits they’ve ever seen,” Darby said. “If the money had been finished, or laundered, it could have easily went undetected.” The Secret Service said the $100 bills were printed on a press in Nigeria, noting that they are not aware of a non-government press of that quality anywhere in the United States, Darby said. “What they said is ‘this is real money, but it’s counterfeit,'” Darby said. “You can see the hologram in it.” “There are lots of work-at-home scams that could come up through Facebook or over the Internet,” he said. “If those offers involve cashing checks, sending money or exchanging money for cashiers’ checks or traveler’s checks, there’s a good chance that they involve illegal activity.” “Nigerian scams have been around for years and are well known,” Darby said. “Nigeria hosts a multitude of illegal operations that actually occur in the United States.” He noted that the bills fool counterfeit detection pens. “The warning to businesses is if anything doesn’t look right for a money order or money exchange – I’d say over $1,000 – they should take it to the next level and call their loss prevention or dial 9-1-1,” Darby said. http://www.thenortheastgeorgian.com/articles/2009/09/29/news/top_stories/01topstory.txt

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October 10, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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