BAYONNE -- A 16-year-old Bayonne girl was allegedly used in a scheme to spread counterfeit $100 bills to at least three Broadway merchants, a police spokesperson said.
The scheme unraveled when a suspicious clerk from Easy Pickins clothing store called police at about 6:15 p.m. on April 20.
A police officer, based on a description of the girl broadcast to units around the town, reported seeing a girl placing an Easy Pickins shopping bag into the trunk of a black Nissan Altima parked near Broadway and 30th Street.
A police spokesperson said when officers stopped the car a short time later, the officers saw the driver, Steven Montano, 23, of Jackson Heights, N.Y., with a folded bundle of bills between his legs, which – according to the police report – he claimed was not his.
When police retrieved the Easy Pickins shopping bag from the trunk of the car, they found a shopping bag from Barney Stock women’s clothing store with merchandise in it.
The clerks at Barney Stock and Easy Pickins positively identified the 16-year-old girl as the person who gave them the counterfeit bill. Based on an interview with the suspects, the police also found another counterfeit bill at the Carvel ice cream store; although the clerk there could not positively say the girl had given it.
As a result, the girl was charged with forgery and conspiracy to commit forgery, and was later released to the custody of the state Division of Youth and Family Services.
Montano and Kevin Avalos, 20, of Flushing, who was in the car when it was stopped, were charged with forgery, conspiracy to commit forgery and the use of a minor 17 or younger to commit a crime. Both were sent to the Hudson County Correctional Facility in Kearny.
Since passing of counterfeit money is considered a federal crime, the Bayonne police notified the Treasury Department about the incident.