Four people have been arrested in the scenic town of Solvang for allegedly operating a counterfeit money operation that ripped off several local businesses.
On Tuesday, investigators from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office arrested Bakersfield residents Tanya Lee Rose, 40, Melissa Jones, 42, Doreen Rowland, 48, and Thomas Berchtold, 40, on suspicion of conspiracy, and for possessing methamphetamines and counterfeit $100 bills.
The four were found in a parked car with meth, a bottle of Popov vodka, a stun gun and hundreds of dollars in counterfeit cash, officials said. Some of the bills were blank and had not yet been printed.
The bills were convincing enough that at least a few clothing and jewelry businesses in the Danish-themed town near Santa Maria were fooled into accepting them, officials said. Because of the sophistication of the bills, the Sheriff’s Department has notified the Secret Service, which is conducting its own investigation.
The group was found out when at least one business owner didn’t accept the cash and instead called authorities, who found the four in a parked car close by.
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