FORT SMITH (KFSM) — A Louisiana couple has admitted to creating nearly $30,000 in counterfeit money and spending the fake bills in four states.
Joan Smith, of Jonesboro, La., and Scott Lowe, of Colfax, La., each pleaded guilty Thursday (July 18) in federal court to one count of uttering and passing counterfeit securities with intent to defraud and aiding and abetting.
Walmart officials notified the U.S. Secret Service in February after Smith and Lowe used fake $50 bills to purchase a prepaid debit card, a printer and ink at a store in Greenwood, according to court documents.
Investigators tracked Smith and Lowe to a hotel in Miami, Okla., where they found more than 60 counterfeit bills and their “corresponding genuine parent notes”; two printers; a cutting wheel; multipurpose paper; double-sided tape; and a wrinkle-free glue stick.
Smith said she and Lowe used the materials to create the counterfeit money. Smith would “wash” the genuine bills and bleach a $1 bill, then Lowe would print a $50 bill onto the bleached bill, according to court documents.
Smith estimated that in one month, she and Lowe made between $20,000 and $30,000. She said they spent the money at chain stores in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.
Smith said they would often return the merchandise at the same store in a different city.
As part of their plea deal, prosecutors will dismiss additional counts of uttering and passing counterfeit securities with intent to defraud and aiding and abetting.
Smith and Lowe face up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. A sentencing hearing hasn’t been set.