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Pasco women charged with using counterfeit money, deputies say

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Laura T. Fossett, 34, was charged with possession of counterfeit bills, forging bank notes and using counterfeit money, police said. Melissa Snipes, 24, was charged with using counterfeit money. Both women, listed as homeless, were booked into the Land O' Lakes Jail where they remained Monday. Fossett's bail was set at $20,000 and Snipes' bail was set at $4,000.The women are suspected in about 60 incidents over the past two months where fake bills were passed to individuals or businesses, sheriff's Sgt. Justin Ross said. "And that's just what was reported," he said.Four detectives in the sheriff's office's economic crimes unit, who work with a U.S. Secret Service financial investigations strike team, had been pursuing the investigation, Ross said.The women reportedly passed or attempted to pass the bills at fast food restaurants and gas stations, and to individuals who they tricked into exchanging good money for the bad, he said.In some cases, their scheme didn't work because restaurant employees using counterfeit-detection pens determined that the money was fake, according to arrest reports. In those cases, the two women were identified in surveillance video or by restaurant employees looking at photos provided by the sheriff's office.Fossett and Snipes tried to stay ahead of law enforcement by moving their operation from one hotel to another, but were tracked down Thursday at an Econo Lodge at 6826 U.S. 19 in New Port Richey, Ross said.He described the counterfeit bills confiscated as "better quality than some." Trained investigators easily could tell the difference, but the general public could have been fooled, he said.

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