Atlanta men’s trail of fake money stops in Crenshaw County
Published 6:07 pm Tuesday, August 15, 2017
By: Shayla Terry
A pair of men traveled throughout Alabama swapping counterfeit money for legit currency, but the buck stopped at the Dollar General of Brantley, according to police.
Crenshaw County Sheriff Mickey Powell says Justin Landon Aldon, 31, and Shahal Devonte Lewis, 26, both of Stone Mountain, Georgia, bought 1,000 counterfeit $100 bills on the black web for $100. On last Sunday, they left Atlanta on a rented U-Haul van to swap the money out. The men arrived in Crenshaw County on Wednesday, Aug. 9.
“At approximately 5 p.m. at the Brantley Dollar General each one of them presented a $100 bill,” Powell said. “They were buying roughly $10 worth of merchandise, and getting $90 back of good currency. One of the clerks noticed, but was afraid to say anything. She informed her manager who called 911 and gave a description of the men and the van.”
Deputy Josh Williams responded to the call and stopped the vehicle at the intersection of Three Notch and U.S. Highway 331. The clerk at the store identified the men on scene. Authorities retrieved $2,000 worth of counterfeit $100 bills off the men.
“After taking the man into custody and towing the vehicle, the U.S. Secret Service was called,” Powell said. “They arrived on Friday and interviewed the men. They admitted to buying the counterfeits on the black web possibly via Ukraine through a bitcoin transaction. According to the Secret Service guys, Atlanta is one of their busiest areas.”
Lewis and Aldon also made stops at the Dollar General of Highland Home and Luverne, as well as the Luverne Family Dollar and Friends. Powell says all five incidents occurred within 45 minutes. In the state of Alabama, the men committed the same actions more than 30 times, in areas like Limestone, Elmore, Lee, Shelby, Autauga Lowndes and Montgomery counties. Other fraud and counterfeit crimes by the men may also be possible in North Carolina and South Carolina.
“There are probably more states affected,” said Crenshaw County Investigator Dalton Francis. “They were simply riding the roads and switching the money out. They typically always got at least $90 dollars out. We have 35 receipts from different stores.”
The men have both been charged with 26 counts of first-degree forged instruments, as well as second-degree possession of marijuana. Their bonds are set at S1.1 million each. Powell says Lewis is a Georgia parole while Aldon has an extensive involvement with current fraudulent and forged cases.
According to the Secret Service, the bills were treated with iodine. If they are marked with the counterfeit detector pen, they will pass.
“It will fade yellow, but after a little while it will turn black,” Powell said. “They only true way to know they are counterfeit is by looking for the watermark on the bills.”
Serials numbers of the fake $100 bills are FF26967991A, FK86169861F, BA97112984B and AB44628602B. If you have any information regarding the case please call the Crenshaw County Sheriff at 334-335-6568.