Three Arrested on Counterfeit Charges in Ozark

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Three Ozark men are in jail. All could face federal charges.

Investigators say the men are responsible for counterfeiting in Dale County, but they are looking to see if they could be connected to other counterfeit cases in the Wiregrass.

The Ozark Police Department has been working this case for the last six months.

Over the past week, Ozark has seen a rise in the number of counterfeit bills in the area.

Officials at the Community Bank of Ozark told News 4, last week they've seen three different retailers try to deposit money that were counterfeit. However, they were not the guilty ones. They were actually victims of a counterfeit scheme that's been going on in Ozark for at least six months.

That scheme is now coming to a close after police arrested three men in connection to the crime.

"Often times it's very difficult to bring a counterfeit operation to a resolution because it's so difficult to trace the origin of the counterfeit money. Once you pass the counterfeit money, a lot of times it's impossible to know where it came from," says Ozark Police Chief, Tony Spivey.

Thirty-one-year-old Bernard McLeod of Ozark was arrested for seven counts of possession of a forged instrument, first degree, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Thirty-six-year-old Johnny Gerome Phillip of Ozark is charged with nine counts of possession of a forged instrument, first degree.

Twenty-year-old Altigera Freeman is charged with possession of a forged instrument, second degree.

Police are now looking to see if these men could be connected to other Wiregrass cases.

"Several individuals at this point we feel may be involved with this. If they have had a role in it, it would be to their benefit to come talk to us. But if you have engaged in any counterfeit operation, we're going to get you," says Spivey.

The suspects are in the Dale County Jail under no bond

Ozark Police are working with the Secret Service to see if these counterfeit suspects are related to others in the Wiregrass.

Ozark Police say it will be determined later, if the men will be tried in the state or federal court system.