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Lake City woman accused of printing counterfeit bills

(WCTV)
Published: Jan. 18, 2017 at 4:45 PM EST
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By: WCTV Eyewitness News

January 18, 2017

LAKE CITY, Fla. (WCTV) -- A Lake City woman has been arrested on multiple charges after police say she was caught attempting to use counterfeit $20 bills.

After days of investigating, the Lake City Police Department made an arrest after a series of counterfeit currency incidents.

Brandi Harden, 30, is charged with Uttering Forged Bills after police identified her as the suspect in those incidents.

On January 14, police responded to a Walmart store where the then-unidentified woman used five $20 bills to pay for her merchandise. She fled before police arrived.

On January 16, police responded to an Applebee’s restaurant after being notified that a patron had paid her bill using counterfeit bills. Police say the patron fled the restaurant, leaving the counterfeit bills and her cellphone behind.

Officers identified the owner of the phone as Harden and located her at a local Cypress Inn. After questioning from the officers, LCPD says Harden admitted to using the counterfeit bills. A warrant was issued for Harden’s arrest.

On January 17, officers responded to a fight between two women at the “Fun Zone” internet café. During the fight, one female, later identified as Harden, reportedly stole the other woman’s phone.

Officials returned to Cypress Inn to question Harden about the fight, where they found Harden and a male subject, later identified as Donald Smith, 35.

While speaking with Harden, officers discovered another male subject, James Prescott, 35, hiding in the shower.

Prescott was arrested for active warrants. Smith was also arrested after attempting to conceal a small plastic baggie containing white crystals, which tested positive for methamphetamine.

In the room, officers found numerous counterfeit bills, along with blank paper and a printer. Police say Harden had not only been passing counterfeit bills, but producing them herself.

Officers also discovered marijuana and paraphernalia and Harden was additionally charged with possession of Marijuana and Possession of Drug equipment.

She is being held at Columbia County Jail on $7,000 bond.

The United States Secret Service is now also investigating Harden for counterfeiting US Currency, a crime punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison.