The Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office and Fort Walton Beach Police Department have arrested more than a dozen people to date in connection with an investigation into the distribution of counterfeit currency in south Okaloosa County.
The charges range from uttering counterfeit U.S. currency to conspiracy to manufacture and distribute the fake money.
Several search warrants have been conducted since the investigation began in mid-to-late summer. One of the searches led to the discovery of four firearms, including an AK-47 assault rifle.
Three of the weapons had been reported as stolen. The search of the residence also turned up more than 100 grams of cocaine and a case of ammunition for the AK-47.
That particular search led to the arrests of 17-year old Aubrey Joseph and 39-year old Pamela Stoudmire of Fort Walton Beach on September 30th, 2008.
Others arrested so far in connection with the investigation are:
* 33-year old Raymond Forrest Lawson, 611 Manor Ct., F.W.B.
* 39-year old Julie Renee Gomez, 832 Oakridge St., F.W.B.
* 23-year old Laderius Jermaine Jackson ,102 Burned Out Bridge Rd., Baker
* 22-year old John Harry Larimer, 121 Berger Pl., F.W.B.
* 17-year old Kyndric Dallas Wilson, 479 Sara Ave., Mary Esther
* 22-year old Shera Cherelle Morris, 54 9th Ave., Shalimar
* 31-year old Tajuana Latrice Feagin, 538 Parkview Lane, F.W.B.
* 23-year old James Saltaformaggio, of Boutte, Louisiana
* 22-year old Kennon Lottinger, of Luling, Louisiana
* 33-year old Dennis Ronaldo Hunter of 223 Highway Ave, F.W.B.
* 22-year old Larence Daniel Bloxson, 125 Second Ave., F.W.B.
Additional warrants are pending. Because this an active, ongoing investigation, no other details will be released at this time.
TIPS FOR DETECTING COUNTERFEIT MONEY
The best way to detect a counterfeit is to know your currency.
Here are some of the simplest detection methods:
1. Feel the paper. That's usually the first giveaway. A counterfeit will often be "floppier" than the real thing or just feel strange.
2. Hold the note up to the light. Most banks carry a watermark and thread. A thread always appears as a solid line when viewed and good watermark detail should be seen.
3. The print quality on a genuine note will be crisp and defined.
4. With a magnifying glass you should be able to read any microtext messages.
5. The color on a genuine note will be clear and well defined and the metallic ink area will have a sheen.
6. Depending on how much you handle money, you can purchase a counterfeit detector to mark a suspect bill. The marks from these pens should show up clear if the bill is real, dark if it's counterfeit. Many retailers use these pens.