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UPDATE: Fake Bills Hit Town

Westport police today released the names of some of the businesses hit by counterfeit $100 bills on Monday. The initial call reporting the counterfeit bills came from Amy Coe at 151 Post Rd. E. The suspects also tried to pass a counterfeit $100 bill at Joe’s Pizza, 143 Post Rd. E. and Garelick and Herbs at 1799 Post Road E. When the suspect emeged from Garelick and Herbs, Westport Police arrested him.

On April 19, Westport police arrested two men for using counterfeit $100 bills at seven Westport businesses. The men, John Moncadeo-Moreno, 32, of Queens, NY and Manuel Londondo, 69, also of Queens, are being held in Westport on $500,000 and $100,000 bail. They are to be arraigned today in Norwalk. Both are charged with six counts of larceny, nine counts of forgery and criminal attempt at larceny 6th. After the arrest, Westport police discovered outstanding warrants for Moncado-Moreno's arrest in New Jersey. He faces extradition charges as well.

Just before 4 p.m., Westport police were called by a local business person who reported receiving  a counterfeit $100 bill at his establishment. The caller told police the man had left and, with an accomplice, the two were driving eastbound on Post Road East. Police and detectives searched the area and spotted the car about three miles from the caller's business, at a store near the Fairfield line. Moncado-Moreno was seen going into this store where he allegedly passed another counterfeit bill.  He was arrested when he came out of the store and Londondo, the car's driver, was also arrested.

Lt. Vincent Penna, Commander of Westport's Detective Bureau said Westport businesses hit by the counterfeit bills included food establishments, a hardware store, banks and newstand stores. "We are in possession of six to eight of the bills used in the incidents," he said, adding that police also found receipts for the transactions in the car. The counterfeit money, he explained, is likely made by a third party in a foreign country and then purchased.  Often a counterfeit $100 bill, such as those used in Westport, is purchased for $30. Those trying to pass the bills typically buy something inexpensive with the counterfeit bill, hoping for a large amount of real bills as change. Genuine U.S. currency is used to create the counterfeit bill, Det. Penna said. It is usually a one dollar bill that is bleached and then laser printed to look like a $100. "Something's going to be off on it if you look carefully,"  Det. Penna explained, "it may not be perfectly centered, for instance."

The incident is still being investigated and the U.S. Secret Service is working with Westport police on the case.

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