Rifle pair accused of making, distributing counterfeit $100 bills

A 23-year-old man and a 34-year-old woman, both of Rifle, were arrested Tuesday after an investigation showed they allegedly made fake $100 bills, giving one to a panhandler near Interstate 70, according to the Grand Junction Police Department.

Jeremiah John Michaelis and Tia Marie House were arrested on suspicion of forgery, criminal possession of a forged instrument and criminal possession of forgery devices.

The Police Department was called at 10:25 a.m. Tuesday to a liquor store on Horizon Drive after a man reportedly tried to use a counterfeit $100 bill to make a purchase.

While en route to the store, the officer was flagged down by a panhandler who reported that he was given a fake $100 bill near Horizon Drive and I-70.

Officers also received a report Tuesday morning that a man tried to use a fake $100 bill to make a purchase at the Horizon Shell convenience store, 745 Horizon Dr.

The store employee told officers she saw a hotel key for nearby America’s Best Value Inn, 754 Horizon Dr., in the man’s wallet, the Police Department said.

Investigators went to the hotel and a clerk provided a room number.

Officers knocked on the door and Michaelis answered.

Based on video surveillance from the liquor store, officers believed Michaelis was the person who attempted to use a counterfeit bill.

The suspect description in all three incidents reportedly matched Michaelis.

House was in the hotel room with Michaelis, where officers reportedly found counterfeit money manufacturing equipment such as printers, chemicals and cutting devices, as well as numerous phony $100 bills.

In addition, Michaelis was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of two counts of theft of less than $50 for attempting to purchase items with a fake $100 bill and violation of bail-bond conditions.

Walter Stowe, spokesman for the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office, said Michaelis was arrested March 11 on suspicion of first-degree burglary, criminal attempt and domestic violence and was released March 19 on bond.


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