Several arrests made after woman attempts to pass counterfeit bills

Brandi Harden, 30, used fake bills at Walmart, Applebee's, police say


COLUMBIA COUNTY, Fla. – A woman and, subsequently, two men were arrested after police said the woman attempted to pass counterfeit bills at a Walmart and Applebee's.

According to the Lake County Police Department, the woman, later identified as Brandi Harden, 30, attempted to make a purchase at Walmart Saturday with five $20 bills, but the cashier recognized the bills to be fake. Harden immediately ran from the store.

Police said Hardin left fake money on her table at Applebee's on Monday to pay for her bill. Police were called and collected the money, along with a cellphone that had been left behind.

Officers said they were able to identify Hardin as the owner of the phone and tracked her down to a Cypress Inn.
Police said they showed Hardin the bills and she became embarrassed and admitted to passing the fake bills to pay for her meal. She was also suspected of passing the bills at Walmart.

Police said they submitted a request to the state attorney's office to issue a warrant for Hardin's arrest.

On Tuesday, officers were called to Fun Zone internet cafe in response to a fight. While there, it was determined that during a fight, Hardin had taken a woman's phone.

Officers returned to the Cypress Inn, where while questioning Hardin about the fight, found a man, James Prescott, 35, with two active warrants. He was arrested.

During Prescott's arrest, Donald Smith, 35, was seen attempting to conceal a bag with white crystals. Police said the crystals were field-tested positive for methamphetamine and Smith was arrested.

LCPD said while in the room, they found counterfeit bills, blank paper and a printer. Police said they determined Hardin had been producing the counterfeit bills herself.

Hardin was arrested and charged with uttering forged bills. During her arrest police also found marijuana and paraphernalia. She was additionally charged with possession of marijuana and possession of drug equipment.

Hardin is being held at the Columbia County Jail on $7,000 bond.

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