OCEAN CITY — Several arrests have been made in a recent rash of counterfeiting in the resort, thanks in large part to a more vigilant and better educated workforce.
“ … We are fortunate to not only have fantastic detectives who have been working around the clock to solve these cases, but even more so, we are lucky to have vigilant employees who, in several circumstances, thwarted additional crimes by recognizing the counterfeit currency before it was passed,” said Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) Public Affairs Specialist Jessica Waters this week. “The business owners and employees have been a tremendous help in not only detecting the counterfeit currency, but contacting the police department in a timely manner, which helps investigators catch criminals quicker and prevents other businesses from being victimized.”
Numerous cases of the attempted passage of counterfeit currency at businesses throughout the resort have been reported in the last few weeks and several arrests have been made. Just last week, two New York men were arrested on counterfeiting charges after allegedly passing phony $100 bills in at least two Boardwalk businesses.
Around 8:45 p.m. last Thursday, Ocean City Police responded to the area of 7th Street and the Boardwalk in response to a call that two suspects had just passed a counterfeit $100 bill. When police arrived, store employees had detained one suspect while the other had fled. Around 9:05 p.m., OCPD officers received another call from a business on 4th Street and the Boardwalk about a suspect attempting to pass a counterfeit $100 bill. The employee determined the bill was fake and was able to stall the suspect until officers arrived.
The investigation revealed the two suspects, identified as Gusyen Aliyev, 28, and Mikhail Dikler, 29, both of Brooklyn, N.Y., were entering local businesses and using a counterfeit $100 bill to purchase a nominal item, The fake bills, considered a very high quality counterfeit, would yield the suspects roughly $90 in change in real U.S. currency.
During the investigation, 16 counterfeit $100 bills were recovered, along with roughly $5,000 in actual U.S. currency believed to be the proceeds of the crimes. Aliyev and Dikler were arrested and charged with multiple counts of possession and distribution of counterfeit currency and theft.
In yet another case from last week, two men were arrested for passing counterfeit money at multiple businesses in Ocean City after resort police collaborated with the Fruitland Police Department on similar cases.
On July 9, OCPD investigators received information from the Fruitland Police Department regarding the arrest of two male suspects for possessing and passing counterfeit bills. Fruitland detectives were aware the OCPD was also investigating a rash of counterfeit crimes and believed the suspects they had in custody may have been involved in the Ocean City cases.
Based on the preliminary information provided by Fruitland, OCPD investigators were able to determine the two suspects, identified as Deontrae Lamar Bailey, 19, of Pocomoke, and Quincy Williams, 21, of Norfolk, Va., were the same suspects captured on surveillance video passing counterfeit bills in Ocean City during the week of July 6. The subsequent investigation revealed Bailey and Williams allegedly passed counterfeit bills in Fruitland, Ocean City, Pocomoke and Princess Anne.
During the investigation, area police thus far have recovered several thousand dollars in counterfeit U.S. currency linked to Bailey and Williams. Several regional banks have also reported locating counterfeit currency from the deposits of local merchants.
In June, Ocean City Police identified two local men as suspects in yet another case of counterfeiting. Around 1 a.m. on June 17, OCPD officers patrolling in the area of 17th Street and Philadelphia Ave. were advised by a nearby store employee a suspect or suspects had just attempted to pass a counterfeit $20 bill. OCPD officers met with store employees and viewed surveillance images and were able to identify a suspect as Christopher Dale Miller, 28, of Berlin.
Ocean City Police received numerous calls from businesses during the course of their investigation regarding the passing of counterfeit currency. Detectives were able to link Miller to the additional cases, and also identified a second suspect, Kevin Michael McCarthy, 27, of Ocean City. Throughout the investigation, a total of 31 counterfeit $20 bills were allegedly passed by the duo, victimizing eight businesses. Miller was arrested and charged through a warrant on June 20. McCarthy was charged on a warrant on Monday and had not yet been apprehended.
Waters said the OCPD has attempted to be proactive with the rash of counterfeiting cases and has held several educational sessions with store employees.
“With the increase in counterfeit currency, it’s important now more than ever that citizens closely examine currency and look at the money they receive and by being aware of the security features on the currency,” she said.