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Posted: May 6, 2009 12:00 a.m.

Man arrested with counterfeit cash

Officers find $970 worth of fake bills

Officers from the Covington Police Department were called to an area discount store after a man attempted to use a counterfeit bill, and ended up confiscating roughly $970 in counterfeit currency.

At approximately 4:11 p.m. Sunday, officers arrived at the store and spoke with a customer service employee about a report of counterfeit cash. While waiting for the employee two people - a man and a woman - sitting on a bench in front of the department reportedly flagged the officer down and asked him if he was there about the fraudulent money.

The couple allegedly told the officer that they were the ones with the fake $50 bill, which the cashier had by that time given to the officer. According to reports, the officer could tell from the feel of the bill that it was a fake. The male, identified as 23-year-old Joel Martinez, reportedly told the officer that he was unaware the bill was not real and as soon as he discovered this, he paid for his merchandise with real U.S. currency.

Asked where he believed the counterfeit cash came from, Martinez allegedly told the officer immediately that it came from a gas station in Smyrna three days ago. He reportedly said that he had received the bill as change after paying for gas. He allegedly told officers that he had not inspected the money and did not initially realize there was a problem and if he had, he would never had attempted to spend the money.

Martinez was asked for identification and he allegedly reached into his back pocket, produced his wallet, and gave the officer his driver's license. While his wallet was open on his lap, the officer was able to see that there was a substantial amount of cash inside of the folding money compartment. Martinez replaced his wallet and continued to speak with the officer. The officer asked Martinez if he would show him all the currency he had on him and Martinez reportedly paused for a moment before allegedly reaching into his front pocket and producing several bills in small denominations.

Knowing that he had more money in his wallet, the officer reportedly asked Martinez to show him the money in his wallet. According to reports, Martinez once again paused and appeared to be scared that the officer knew he had more cash but he handed the officer his wallet.

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