Law enforcement cracking down on counterfeit money in Routt, Moffat counties |

Law enforcement cracking down on counterfeit money in Routt, Moffat counties

Clay Thorp
Craig Press

In evidence photographs, the counterfeit $100 bill has a small, bright-orange symbol and also includes Asian typography. (Photo by Craig Police Department)

CRAIG — Craig Police Department investigators are working with other law enforcement agencies in the Yampa Valley to keep residents from falling victim to counterfeit currency.

In the past six months, several arrests have been made related to counterfeit bills in Craig, Steamboat Springs and Hayden.

“There are suspects that have been charged,” Craig police Capt. Bill Leonard said. “… We’re working with investigators in Steamboat and an officer in Hayden to put all the cases together.”

Craig resident Fredrick Battle, 47, and Hayden residents Jessie Grubbs, 27, and Hec Mcentee, 43, have been arrested on felony charges of possession of a forged instrument, according to arrest records.

Jessie Grubbs, from left, Hec Mcentee and Fredrick Battle were arrested on felony charges of possession of a forged instrument. (Photo by Craig Police Department)

On Feb. 26, police found five $100 bills with “markings that are not consistent with U.S. currency” in a backpack that allegedly belonged to Mcentee, according to an arrest affidavit. Mcentee also faces misdemeanor charges and a felony charge of possession of an explosive or incendiary device. He posted a $750 bond Feb. 27.

At a glance

Tips to avoid falling victim to fake currency:

• An ultraviolet light can be used to verify authenticity on some notes.
• Report counterfeit attempts immediately. Be attentive to descriptions and vehicles associated with the attempt.
• If you are accepting cash for a large purchase, consider visiting a local branch of your bank to ask for assistance verifying the currency.
• Security surveillance of point-of-sale locations can be an effective deterrent to fraud.
• Follow best practices for all personal transactions: Choose a public place (preferably with surveillance), identify all individuals using photo IDs, complete a bill of sale, have a witness, verify currency as authentic, take photographs of the involved property or make a video recording of the transaction. Be willing to stop the transaction.
• Be familiar with legitimate currency. A guide is available at
. Business owners are encouraged to have the brochure at point-of-sale locations.

Source: Steamboat Springs Police Department

Craig police found a fake $100 bill in Grubbs’ jacket pocket after arresting him on a misdemeanor warrant Feb. 7, according to an arrest affidavit. Grubbs also is facing a felony drug possession charge and a possession of drug paraphernalia charge after police said they found heroin and items commonly used to smoke the drug. He was freed on a $1,000 public recognizance bond Feb. 8.

There was no arrest affidavit available for Battle, who bonded out for $1,000 March 6.

Steamboat Springs Police Department Operations Cmdr. Annette Dopplick wrote in an email that Steamboat police have responded to at least two possible reports of counterfeit currency in the past six months but none in 2019. Dopplick said Steamboat works with federal agencies, including the U.S. Secret Service, on counterfeit currency cases.

“In general, counterfeiting crime tends to be transient in nature, and offenders move quickly to escape detection,” Dopplick wrote.

Craig Capt. Leonard said it is unlikely someone is printing bills locally. Instead, the bills are likely bought in bulk on a website.

“Most of these bills in these cases are ones purchased online, and they’re clearly marked — although very small — that they’re not intended to be valid currency,” Leonard said. “Unfortunately, some people have accepted those as valid, and we’ve had to put out this information.

“It’s frustrating that places can sell real looking currency, that people can buy it online and then use it as real currency, and unfortunately we have people accept it.”

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