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January 28, 2013

Counterfeit bill culprit caught in Conyers

MILLEDGEVILLE — The suspect that used high-grade counterfeit $100 bills to purchase $5,800 worth of money orders locally was arrested in Conyers Friday afternoon.

Milledgeville Police Detective Anthony Henderson and Lt. Bobby Langford of the Baldwin County Sheriff's Office along with Secret Service agents captured 22-year-old Allen Jermaine Johnson. Officers spent two days around the Atlanta area tracking the suspect.

The BCSO, Milledgeville Police Department and Eatonton Police Department helped conduct the search together with several Atlanta jurisdictions.

Capt. Brad King, of the BCSO, credited sharp social media work by a sheriff’s office administrative assistant that helped identify Johnson.

The suspect is currently being held without bond at the Baldwin County jail. After processing at other jurisdictions, Johnson will return to BCSO custody.

Local authorities were alerted Jan. 11 to the counterfeit money order scheme. The suspect hit two Baldwin County, two Milledgeville and one Eatonton location.

Secret Service agents informed local authorities the serial numbers didn't exist and that for every single bill possessed there were 1,000 others throughout 20 states.

MPD handled the initial response at Walmart. Surveillance video from a Baldwin convenience store showed the suspect driving a small, silver car that turned out to be a Chrysler 200 rental car used in the local incidents.

Each $100 bill had a spot on watermark, hologram and magnetic strip. The bills passed a marking test and went through a money counter.

The bank authorities noticed a minor tactile difference, according to officials.

King estimated Johnson passed $30,000 through the state since September.

This kind of counterfeit operation is unprecedented.

“Dollar amount wise it's the most we've ever seen,” King said. “In my recollection, I can't think of another time we had this much money show up at once that was of such a high-quality.”

Authorities are still working the case.

Johnson is originally from Brooklyn, N.Y., and investigators think he may have open ties up north. Considering the amount and quality of the bills, he could be one of many, according to King.

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