Law enforcement officials in Kitsap County banded together to take down counterfeit money operations responsible for fake bills throughout the region.
Officers caught on to the counterfeit spree on Oct. 2 and investigated through the month, making multiple arrests on Oct. 25.
“Basically, he was purchasing iPads and PCs via Craigslist ads, and he would then give counterfeit money and disappear with the stuff,” said Poulsbo Detective Valerie Nau of the main suspect.
Detectives with the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office, Port Orchard Police Department and Poulsbo Police Department combined notes on overlapping suspects, which led to the arrest of multiple counterfeiters.
“It’s a lot bigger than one guy,” Nau said, further noting that each jurisdiction has multiple counterfeiting cases underway.
“In the north end, there is probably about six (people making counterfeit money),” she said. “But as soon as we dig into one, it spirals into more.”
Three Poulsbo men face charges of forgery in Kitsap County District Court.
Joel Dennis Moore, 31, was arrested for allegedly passing counterfeit money in a string of purchases. He was the “kingpin” of the operation, according to Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Wilson.
Moore targeted sellers on Craigslist.
Two other men, Dustin Donald Goodwin, 26, and Dylan Joseph Heckl, 25, were arrested for their alleged involvement in the crimes.
Moore allegedly contacted Kitsap sellers through Craigslist, and over the month purchased a Samsung Galaxy Notebook for $240, a Nexus 10 tablet for $350, a Hewlett Packard Touchpad for $180, a Toshiba Thrive tablet for $300 and a Samsung Galaxy II tablet for $120.
Moore reportedly used his real name in email conversations with the sellers. Fake $20 and $5 bills were allegedly used in each purchase.
Moore was arrested on Oct. 25 by Poulsbo police during a traffic stop.
He reportedly admitted to officers that he printed counterfeit money and used it to buy items on Craigslist.
Moore also admitted to a theft at the Poulsbo Walmart on Oct. 13, when he stole a 3-in-1 HP printer, an RCA Blu-ray home theater, and a Vizio sound bar speaker, according to a police report.
Moore reportedly told officers that stolen items were at Heckl’s Poulsbo home or in Goodwin’s car. He also said that police would find the printer used to make the fake money, cutting instruments, remnants of printed money and possibly heroin, according to a police report.
A search warrant was served at Heckl’s residence on Oct. 25. Officers from Poulsbo and Port Orchard and county deputies searched the home and found the stolen items from Walmart as well as counterfeit money. Heckl and Goodwin had counterfeit money in their wallets, according to police reports.
It is the second major case of counterfeiting for Poulsbo police within two months.
Michael Anthony Jones, 38, of Suquamish, is charged with two counts of forgery and one count of possessing stolen property after his arrest in September.
Jones is suspected of passing fake bills at coffee stands, Walmart, gas stations and garage sales. Change was often given in the transactions.
Witnesses identified Jones as the man who passed the fake money at their places of business, according to a police report. Detectives also scanned his Facebook page and found three photos, from different angles, of Jones covered in $20 bills.
A search warrant was served at Jones’ home in Suquamish on Sept. 6.
Four printers were found at the home. Multiple fake bills were found ranging from $1 to $100. Some were printed on paper, and others were heavily washed $5 bills with $20 and $100 denominations printed on them, according to a police report.
A backpack was also recovered, containing multiple checkbooks, IDs, credit cards, and Social Security numbers belonging to victims of identity theft around the country.
Jones was arrested and booked into Kitsap County Jail. Bail was set at $100,000. He was not listed Thursday on the jail’s roster.
Despite the success with both cases, Nau said that more people in the county are still passing counterfeit money.
“They’re making the money, and washing or laundering it by passing it off in a coffee shop or some place like that. Now they are purchasing these iPads,” Nau said.
Nau noted that the people she has arrested mentioned that they would even pass the fake money to heroin dealers to purchase drugs.
“It’s all related — heroin, counterfeiting,” she said.