A gas station clerk realized a customer paid with a fake $20 bill and took action. She took down the man’s license plate and called police. The good detective work that followed may have uncovered a massive and mobile counterfeit factory.
The suspect did not help his case during an arraignment on Thursday.
The judge asked a simple question. She asked for his name. He said he was Brian Hoppe. He said he was born in July 1981. The problem? Police had his identification. They ran his finger prints. They knew he was not Brian Hoppe. He wasn’t even born in 1981.
The judge called him out for using an alias, but he denied it for some time. Finally he blurts out his name is Shawn Michael Ingram and he was born on July 2. 1987.
“I am not surprised at all that even in front of a judge, under oath he would mislead the judge much like he misled investigators as to who his true identity was,” said Det. Lt. Matthew Lige.
Det. Lt. Matthew Lige says he believes Shawn Ingram is part of a ring of criminals running a mobile counterfeit lab in rental cars and hotel rooms.
After the gas station clerk at the BP on West State Street provided them with a license plate, they realized the suspect was in a rental car. They found that rental car in a parking lot a the Holiday Inn near the gas station. He was not staying there. They learned he might be staying at the nearby Sheraton. They went there with perfect timing. As they walked in, the elevator door opened and they saw their suspect.
“We have learned that he is part of a larger group,” said Lige. “They are using the cars and the hotels to produce credit cards, i-tune cards, I.D. cards and even in this case sheets and sheets of counterfeit money.”
Police shared pictures of dozens of sheets of counterfeit money and counterfeit cards confiscated during the investigation.
“In his car he’s got the printers, scanners, laminate machines, templates to produce the credit cards. All of this is mobile,” said Lige.
The man accused of making and using fake money did not help his case by providing a fake name. The judge arraigned him on 9 counts and set his bond at $100,000 cash.