A Palmerton man has been arrested for passing counterfeit money at several businesses in the downtown last month.
Contacted this morning, borough police Chief Randy Smith told the TIMES NEWS police have identified Christopher A. Poplin, 32, of 407 Lehigh Ave., as the individual who passed five counterfeit $100 bills at various businesses throughout the borough.
Smith said Poplin has been charged with five counts of forgery. He is scheduled to have a preliminary hearing at 10:30 a.m. March 9 before District Judge Bruce Appleton of Palmerton.
"He was cooperative throughout the investigation once we identified him through one of the surveillance cameras at one of the businesses in town," Smith said.
According to an affidavit of probable cause filed by borough patrolman Christopher Ritter:
At 7:30 p.m. Feb. 6, an employee of the Convenient Food Mart at 643 Delaware Ave. turned over to the police department a counterfeit $100 bill that had been discovered among the day's receipts, according to the affidavit.
Officers then canvassed other open businesses and recovered two more counterfeit $100 bills from the Family Dollar at 545 Delaware Ave., and one from Joe's Place at 155 Delaware Ave., the affidavit says.
A fifth counterfeit $100 bill was later discovered in a tax payment made to the Carbon County Tax Claim Bureau on Feb. 7, and using band records this bill was traced back to a deposit made to the Palmerton branch of Keystone-Nazareth Bank & Trust on Feb. 6 from Pereira's Gulf Station, 117 Delaware Ave.
These bills all bear similar, nearly sequential serial numbers, and these serial numbers are known to the United States Secret Service as appearing on counterfeit bills.
The bills also lacked several identifying features, bear no watermarks, and have no security thread embedded within the paper.
During investigation, it was learned that Poplin had passed the bills at those businesses between 3 and 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 6, with a matching description of him reported at each location.
In each instance, Poplin made a small purchase, presented a counterfeit $100 bill as payment, and received genuine U.S. currency as change.
This course of action is consistent with the deliberate passing of counterfeit currency.
Using surveillance video and witness identification of photo arrays, Poplin was identified.
On Feb. 9, Poplin was interviewed at the borough police station.
At that time, Poplin signed a waiver of his Miranda rights, and provided a written confession to passing the five $100 bills on Feb. 6, at those businesses.