Detectives in Putnam County investigating increase in counterfeit cash

PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. – The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office and the Palatka Police Department said Thursday they are investigating an uptick in counterfeit money.

The Sheriff’s Office said it has arrested one man suspected of trying to use counterfeit $100 bills at two locations. Meanwhile, Palatka police are looking for someone they said used counterfeit $100 bills at two businesses.

Bills were seized as evidence when deputies said they arrested Michael McMahon, 38. Investigators said he attempted to use the counterfeit cash at a nail salon to purchase a gift certificate.

An employee of the nail salon, who didn’t want to be identified, realized the cash was fake.

“I looked at it and said, ‘I don’t think your one-hundred dollar bill is real. Can I have another bill?’ He pulled a couple more from his pocket and I said, ‘That one is not real either. You better get the real one for me,'" the employee said.

Detectives said McMahon left the salon and went to a seafood restaurant where he tried to pay for his meal and give the waitress a $100 bill. Investigators said the waitress used a counterfeit detection pen to determine the money was fake.

Deputies were called, and McMahon was arrested after leaving the restaurant. Lt. Daniel Taylor said prior to this week, there were only 13 cases of fake $100 bills appearing in Putnam County. That’s changed.

“We’ve had three cases in the past week,” Taylor said. “Our counterparts in the city of Palatka are also seeing an uptick in counterfeit bills being passed.”

It’s unclear who is printing the fake cash and where it’s being produced, but Taylor said the counterfeit money has some common identifiers.

“Some of them have the exact same serial numbers, so they are being passed or copied throughout the county," Taylor said.

Taylor said the U.S. Secret Service has been made aware of the fake $100 bills popping up in Putnam County.

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