3 arrested Sunday for counterfeit bills

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PORT CHARLOTTE, FL. - Three people from Florida’s east coast were arrested Sunday after they allegedly used or tried to use counterfeit money at various locations in Port Charlotte and Englewood.

Deputies were initially called to My Mechanic, located at 6483 San Casa Drive in Englewood, shortly after 1:00 pm Sunday after four people tried to use counterfeit $20 and $10 bills to pay for tires for their car. When an employee told them the money they used was counterfeit, they paid the bill with real currency and left the area.

About two hours later deputies in the Port Charlotte area were called to the area of Peachland and Veterans Blvd. for people using counterfeit money at local businesses. They located the same vehicle from the Englewood incident and found that the driver, 25-year-old Byron L. Harris of West Palm Beach, had a suspended driver’s license. He was placed under arrest on the traffic charge.

While deputies were conducting the traffic stop and beginning the investigation of the use of counterfeit money, an employee of the nearby Subway Sandwich Shop arrived and told deputies the two women in the car had just passed counterfeit money at his business.

Members of the Economic Crimes Unit were called out to continue the investigation. As a result, Harris was also charged with Possessing a Counterfeited Payment Instrument. He was being held on a $3,250 bond.

Also arrested were 18-year-old Rosa Marie Purifory of West Palm Beach on charges of Uttering a Forged Instrument; and 19-year-old Lauren Taylor Hill of Green Acres on charges of Uttering a Forged Instrument and Possessing a Counterfeited Payment Instrument. Purifory is being held on $2,500 bond. Hill is being held on $5,000 bond.

The fourth person in the vehicle required medical treatment and was transported to a local hospital.

Any person or business who may have conducted a cash transaction with Harris, Hill or Purifory over this past weekend is asked to please call the Sheriff’s Office at (941) 639-2101 for the Economic Crimes Unit.