Monday, December 20, 2010


On Friday December 17th, the Amherst Police Department, as a result of an investigation and alert clerks from two local businesses, arrested 37 year old Joe A Lewis of Akron on charges stemming from passing counterfeit money.

During the month of December, Amherst Police received a minimum of 14 separate complaints from local businesses about receiving counterfeit $50.00 bills. Other Departments throughout Lorain County also received similar complaints.

Just prior to the arrest, the Amherst Police Department was alerted by at least two separate businesses of a black male who just attempted to pass counterfeit $50.00 bills. The description of the suspect matched previous complaints. A uniformed patrol Officer spotted the suspect in the parking lot of a local shopping plaza near Leavitt Road and Kresge Dr, which lead to him being placed into custody.

Amherst Police Detectives followed up on several more leads and went to a local motel room where they obtained and collected evidence which tied in the suspect into the counterfeit $50.00 bill operation. The Cleveland Secret Service was also notified and responded to the scene to assist in the investigation.

Lewis was eventually transported to the Lorain County Jail where he is being held without bond until his court appearance in Oberlin Municipal Court on Tuesday December 21st at 8:30 a.m.

The investigation will continue and additional charges may be sought against Lewis and/or additional suspects.

It is believed these counterfeit $50.00 bills, and possibly $20.00, were passed in Lorain, Cuyahoga, and Summit Counties.

Police suggest that businesses should be aware that the counterfeit currency passed the security pen test, however, several store clerks indicated the bill “just didn’t feel right.” The bills were discovered to be counterfeit once it was realized the vertical security thread which is embedded in the paper could not be altered and while the counterfeit bill had every indication it was a $50.00, the security thread indicated the bill was that of a smaller denomination.

Due to the ongoing investigation, no additional details will be released on these incidents.

Anyone who believes they have received counterfeit $50.00 or $20.00 bills should check the security thread to see if it matches other parts of the currency.

Any suspicious currency should be reported to your local police agency.

Lewis was formally charged with the following: Obstructing Official Business, Attempted Theft (2 counts), Possession of Criminal Tools (Felony), Criminal Simulation (Felony) and Theft (felony).


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