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Three Accused of Counterfeiting in Westport

WESTPORT, Conn. – Two New Yorkers and a New Haven resident are facing forgery charges in Westport after they were found in possession of $1,600 in fraudulent $100 bills and checks Friday night, Lt. David Farrell said in a press release.

About 15 minutes before the suspects were arrested, Westport police were advised by Fairfield police that a group of people was believed to be using fake $100 bills at convenience stores along Post Road, Farrell said. A car matching the description of the suspect vehicle, as provided by Fairfield police, was spotted by Westport Police Officer Thomas Casimiro outside Cumberland Farms, 690 Post Road E., around 8:45 p.m.

A male matching the description of one of the suspects got out of the car and made a purchase inside the store, Farrell reported. The suspect was stopped for questioning once more officers arrived. During an on-scene investigation, police found five counterfeit $100 bills, $1,100 in fraudulent travelers checks, $800 cash, several receipts and two more suspects in the car.

Arrested were Rennie Fernandes of the Fair Haven neighborhood in New Haven and Brooklyn, N.Y., residents Aton Austin and Melissa Menfield. Fernandes, 28, was charged with 16 counts of first-degree forgery, and tampering with evidence. Austin, 30, was charged with five counts of first-degree forgery. Menfield, 19, was charged with five-counts of first-degree forgery, and second-degree forgery.

Each was held on a $100,000 bond. They are due in court June 11.

The case is under investigation by the Westport Police Patrol Division and Detective Bureau, and the U.S. Secret Service.

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