They targeted Target, PathMark and A&P, passing thousands of dollars in counterfeit cash — while the U.S. Secret Service watched. Four men were arrested and a fifth was being sought.
Vanrie Carrier, 40, Charles Simmons, 58, and Robert Faison, 42, all of Newark; and James King, 48, and Kindrick White, 38, both of Irvington are officially charged with conspiracy to pass counterfeit U.S. currency — nearly all of it bogus $50 bills, United States Attorney Paul J. Fishman said.
The ringleader, clearly, was Carrier, who also is charged with with falsely making and selling the bogus bills.
He was officially charged this morning, after agents yesterday snatched up White and Faison. White was let go on a $100,000 bond, but Faison was detained pending a detention hearing tomorrow.
King remains at large, Fishman said.
The Secret Service began watching the crew in December 2009, Fishman said.
“The conspirators entered retail establishments and made low-dollar value purchases, often with the use of counterfeit $50 bills, receiving genuine currency as change,” he said, in a release.
Several times, two or three of them entered the same store and bought items with bills bearing the same serial number, the U.S. Attorney said. One time, he said, King and White traveled to three different Target stores – all under video surveillance – to pass the funny money and collect real cash as change.
Over 10 months, Fishman said, the crew passed $4,020 in counterfeit currency.
The Secret Service set up a sting in February: A confidential informant (“CI”) twice bought $1,000 in fake bills — paying $700 in all.
Fishman said federal agents got help from the New Jersey State Police, the Essex County Sheriff’s Department; the Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office; the state Department of Corrections and police departments from Flemington, Raritan and Aberdeen.
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