Three people are charged in federal court with conspiracy to manufacture fake U.S. currency, as well as circulating the counterfeit bills.
Michael Glenn Ogden, 37, Mary Ellen Autry, 40, and Marcus Paul Franklin, 41, pleaded not guilty to the crimes last week.
The trio was arrested in Rapid City on March 6 after police identified it as involved in manufacturing and passing on fake $100 bills throughout South Dakota, according to a federal investigator’s statement submitted to the court.
The defendants reportedly admitted using “within the past few days” 10 to 20 pieces of the fake money at big-box stores, such as Target and Kohl’s.
They apparently also divulged their counterfeiting procedure.
They admitted “bleaching genuine $10.00 Federal Reserve Notes then printing the image of a $100.00 Federal Reserve Note on the genuine paper,” reads the statement by U.S. Secret Service agent Randy Walker.
A Rapid City police search of their hotel room uncovered equipment used in the conspiracy, including printers, paper and chemicals, court documents show.
Authorities have charged Ogden with passing four of the fake bills at a Target store in Sioux Falls; Autry with using three of the notes at the Target in Rapid City; and Franklin with trying to pass two of the bills at the same Rapid City store.
Rapid City police identified Franklin through a Target surveillance video after store personnel reported receiving fake dollar bills, according to Agent Walker’s statement. The Secret Service, besides providing protection, also conducts investigations, including those of counterfeit U.S. currency.
Ogden, Autry and Franklin are detained at the Pennington County Jail. They are tentatively scheduled for trial in May.
The passing of counterfeit U.S. currency is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, and the conspiracy to manufacture it by up to five years.
The trio was initially charged with related offenses in Pennington County. Their state charges have been dismissed since their case has been moved to federal court.
It’s not clear where the defendants are from, though the U.S. Attorney’s Office said they have ties to North Carolina and Oklahoma. Ogden and Autry also have arrest warrants out of Oklahoma, according to the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office.