The Washington Post

Eight charged in Pr. George’s counterfeiting ring

Police in Prince George’s County have charged eight people they say were part of a counterfeiting ring that passed fake money through a Bladensburg Walmart in exchange for real pre-paid Visa cards, authorities said.

A Walmart cashier who was in on the scam accepted the fake bills as payment for the pre-paid cards, then doled the bills out as change to unsuspecting customers, said Cpl. Evan Baxter, a Prince George’s police spokesman. In the three weeks police investigated the ring, the counterfeiters moved between $5,000 and $7,000, Baxter said.

The scam stretched from Chicago to Prince George’s — though the fake money seemed to be produced locally, Baxter said. He said counterfeiters from Chicago paid $30 in authentic money for $100 in fake bills, then used the Walmart cashier to change the fake money into Visa cards. The cards could then be used to draw real money from ATMs, Baxter said.

“There’s no risk there because the Walmart person is in on it,” Baxter said. “They know that they can clean the $100 worth of fake bills by giving it to the Walmart [cashier].”

Police were first tipped to the scam by Walmart loss prevention officers, who noticed counterfeit bills that the cashier had not doled out as change, Baxter said. He said police seized about $1,000 in fake bills when they moved in on the ring last week.

Baxter and court records identified those charged as:

*Cassandra A. Spencer, 39, of Seat Pleasant. She was the cashier, Baxter said.

*Carlvestri C. Clark, 30, of Capitol Heights. He is accused of printing the fake money, Baxter said.

*Sherita A. Nesbit, 26, of Bladensburg

*Ervin T. Corum, 23, of Capitol Heights

*Gregg J. Beals, 22, of Chicago

*Aaron D. Gould, 27, of Bladensburg

*Terran J. Wells, 22, of Riverdale

*Dossy E. Thomas, 31, of Bladensburg

Anyone who believes they might have received counterfeit bills as change from the Walmart is asked to call Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS, Baxter said. If they live out of the area, they are asked to get in contact with their own local police department, he said.

Matt Zapotosky covers the federal district courthouse in Alexandria, where he tries to break news from a windowless office in which he is not allowed to bring his cell phone.


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