Earlier this month, a woman in Pompano Beach was arrested for allegedly using $400 in counterfeit money to purchase a pre-paid Visa card.
As our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers understand it, the manager at the store at which the Visa card was purchased realized that the money used for the purchase was counterfeit, and he subsequently deactivated the pre-paid card. Upon realizing that the card was no longer active, the woman returned to the store, at which point the police were called.
This case highlights a few issues that are highly relevant to criminal defense law, including the fact that seemingly criminal behavior might be unintentional and that what you say to police officers can cause you otherwise preventable harm.
According to the Sun Sentinel, the incident took place at a Walgreens location on Powerline Road on July 6th. A 21-year-old woman bought the Visa card with $400 in apparently counterfeit money, and the manager of the store realized that the money was fake only after noticing that the bills all had the same serial number; the bills were proven to be counterfeit after they were runt through an counterfeit detection device.
Consequently, the Walgreens manager remotely deactivated the card while the 21-year-old woman was attempting to use the card. Unable to complete her purchase, she returned to the Walgreens location and inquired about why her card was not working. As consumers, we understand that this action, returning to the store at which the non-functional product (the card) was purchased was entirely normal, even expected. Upon her return to Walgreens, the manager called the police.
According to the article listed above, the woman’s arrest report revealed that when the police officers arrived, the woman told law enforcement officers, “I know why you are here, for the counterfeit $400 I had.” As our Palm Beach and Broward criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert know, this statement was a crucial and possibly damning piece of information supplied by the woman to the police (assuming she actually made the statement). As you probably know from either a basic understanding of the criminal justice system or any number of “Law & Order” episodes, what you say when you’re arrested “can and will be used against you” in a court of law. The woman had no obligation to tell police why she assumed they had arrived at the Walgreens.
Without her apparently unsolicited statement, police officers and local prosecutors might have had difficulty connecting her to a crime. To be sure, a great deal of counterfeit money circulates around the United States. Because of this, tracing its origin can be incredibly difficult. You may be using counterfeit money without actually realizing that you are doing so! Let’s say you go to a store to buy a chair, and you pay with hundred dollar bills, and you get back twenties and tens in change. What if those are counterfeit bills? If you then go to a local pizza shop and spend that money, you’re essentially doing exactly what the 21-year-old girl in this incident did – using counterfeit money to purchase a product.
As former Palm Beach and Broward County prosecutors, we know how the state prosecutes criminal cases such as those involving counterfeit money. As such, we also know what strategies work in defending these types of cases. If you’ve been arrested for or charged with this or any other crime in Palm Beach, Broward or Miami-Dade County, contact our criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert. To schedule a free, private legal consultation, call us at 1-888-5-DEFEND (1-888-533-3363). We look forward to assisting you.