On July 9, officers responded to a Forgery incident at 1143 King Avenue.
Employees of a food truck at the location indicated that a white female had passed
multiple counterfeit $20 bills during the day. Officers located and detained Athens’
resident Jennifer Pittman (44) at the scene.
The information led ACCPD’s Criminal Investigation Bureau to a hotel room at 1050
Ultimate Drive where two suspects were located. A subsequent search of the hotel room
occupied by Matthew Smith (39) and Joseph Sanders (47,) both of Athens, obtained
evidence that led detectives to believe that counterfeit currency was being printed.
Smith and Sanders were both charged with Forgery (2nd Degree.) Sanders was also
charged with Giving a False Name. Pittman was charged with two counts of Forgery (1st
Degree) for passing counterfeit currency and one count of Forgery (2nd Degree) for
possessing counterfeit currency.
“Local businesses should train employees to be on the lookout for counterfeit
currency, even in smaller denominations. Larger counterfeit bills, $50's and $100's, are
often scrutinized more by employees and are often discovered, but smaller bills aren't
scrutinized as much. The group we arrested on 7/9 and the recent spike in counterfeit
cases over the last few months have primarily involved the passing of counterfeit $20 bills
and evidence was located that the most recent counterfeiting groups were also producing even smaller denominations ($10). The suspects appear to be using these smaller
denominations because they know that they aren't scrutinized near as much by
employees at local businesses. The counterfeits we have recovered from these recent
cases do not feel like actual currency and the watermarks are missing. A very cursory
examination by employees would lead to less of these bills being passed,” said ACCPD
Detective Nathaniel Franco.
ACCPD reminds cashiers to inspect all currency they receive during cash
transactions. If local businesses believe an individual is using counterfeit currency, they
should contact the ACCPD via 9-1-1.