Counterfeit money suspect turns himself in to police

Jason Eastridge (Photos Portsmouth Police)
Jason Eastridge (Photos Portsmouth Police)

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Portsmouth Police say a man they believe is responsible for “funny money” being passed around at local businesses has turned himself in.

Portsmouth Police Detective Misty Holley said a search warrant was executed at the residence of Jason A. Eastridge on Friday, and key pieces of evidence were found, but he was not there.

Police said Eastridge turned himself in Saturday evening, and was later released on bond.

Eastridge was wanted on five felony charges of forging a bank note.

The counterfeit bills — 20’s, 50’s and 100’s — are even passing the pen test, when the pen mark doesn’t turn black, showing it’s a counterfeit. The fake money have shown up at a total of eight locations on London Boulevard, High Street, and Victory Boulevard:

  • April 12, 2014: 700 block of London Blvd (7-Eleven)
  • April 19, 2014: 3900 block of Victory Blvd (7-Eleven)
  • April 22, 2014: 1100 block of London Blvd (London Plaza Seafood)
  • April 22, 2014 1500 block of High Street (Family Dollar)
  • April 23, 2014: 800 block of London Blvd (Pizza Hut)
  • April 24, 2014: 300 block of High Street (The Coffee Shop)
  • April 24, 2014: 300 block of High Street (Noels Deli)
  • April 26, 2014: 300 block of High Street (Jimmy Johns)

Portsmouth Police Detective Misty Holley, who worked in the Economic Crimes Unit, has seen plenty of bogus bills during her career.

“Look at Jackson’s chin on a $20 bill and how detailed it is. Counterfeiters don’t have that same detail. The bill looks hazy, foggy,” she said. “A lot of these bills went unnoticed, and undetected until the individual went to the bank, and found out from the bank these are counterfeit.”

Ahmed Elgamal is owner at Noel’s Deli: “I gave the bank $50, and they ask me, ‘who gave you this money? This is bad money’ … counterfeit, yes.”

Elgamal insists he used the pen that turns black if the bill is counterfeit, and it did not turn black. Holley has seen this kind of counterfeit before.

“I had a $1 bill one time that had Abraham Lincoln, and of course, George Washington is on the one,” she said.

At the Coffee Shop on High Street, Co-owner Tammy Seymore said they got a total of three $50’s on different days: “We are no longer accepting $50 bills anymore … nothing over a $20, not anymore.”

WAVY.com called over to the Norfolk Police Department, and according to their Economic Crimes Investigators, there were eight incidents of counterfeit bills passed in Norfolk. So far, there has been no discernible pattern as to where the bills are used.

“Investigators encourage citizens to take a second look at their bills, note the feel or texture of the bill. Most of the counterfeit bills are of a high quality in regard to printing, however the texture of paper used to print the counterfeit bills, particularly around the edges, compared to a true bill, can often give the counterfeit away, said Norfolk Police Spokesperson Karen Parker-Chesson. “Also scrutinize smaller bills, most people only check larger bills such as $50’s and $100’s.”

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