Counterfeiter gets federal charges
WORTHINGTON -- Of the two men arrested last week in Luverne for passing counterfeit $100 bills, one's case is now being handled by the federal courts, while the other case remains in Nobles County District Court.
Dennis Prater, 29, is charged federally with two counts of passing a counterfeit $100 Federal Reserve note which he knew to be counterfeit.
Both bills allegedly passed by Prater were bleached $5 bills that had been reprinted as $100s. Both counts stem from bills allegedly passed by Prater in Sioux Falls, S.D. at fast food restaurants.
Terrance Schaffer, 33, is charged in Nobles County with possession forged or counterfeit U.S. currency, a gross misdemeanor, and theft by swindle, a misdemeanor. He is accused of passing a fake $100 bill at the Adrian Kum & Go.
According to the affidavit from Secret Service Agent Randy Walker, approximately 12 counterfeit notes were passed in the Sioux Falls and Worthington area between Feb. 14 and Feb. 23.
The agent was contacted Feb. 23 by the Sioux Falls Police Department in regard to bills passed at Burger King and Kentucky Fried Chicken in Sioux Falls.
In both cases, employees reported that an unidentified black male in a red vehicle passed the $100 bill. At Burger King, the employee got the vehicle's license number and provided it to authorities.
The license for a 1993 Chevrolet Lumina was registered to Prater in Luverne. Employees from both restaurants were shown photo line-ups and identified Prater as the person who passed the note.
In Adrian, Chief of Police Shawn Langseth was also contacted by a store owner Feb. 23 regarding a possible counterfeit $100 bill. The manager of the Kum & Go stated the bill had been passed by a black male, who had left in a white Pontiac Grand Prix. The manager also provided the license plate number, which was traced back to Luverne residents.
The residents said the suspect vehicle had been sold to a dealership. The dealership provided the name of the new owner, a female from Luverne. The owner of the dealership said the woman who purchased the vehicle was accompanied by a black male.
A Rock County Sheriff's Office detective contacted the Sioux Falls Secret Service and spoke to Walker, who said the white Pontiac in question had been used in some cases he was investigating in Sioux Falls. The suspect description also matched.
On Feb. 26, the detective located the Pontiac on a Luverne street with the engine running. He saw the female who had purchased the vehicle get in and drive away. The detective was aware she allegedly did not have a valid driver's license.
Another deputy stopped the vehicle, and during the stop a black male walked up who matched the description of the man who had passed the fake bill in Adrian. The deputy identified the man as Schaffer.
A search warrant was executed March 3 on Schaffer's home, where authorities found a jacket and stocking cap that matched the description of those worn by the Adrian suspect.
Schaffer was arrested, but when authorities attempted to question him, he declined to give a statement and asked to speak with an attorney.
While Schaffer bonded out of the Nobles County Jail several days later for $3,000, Prater was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals and remains behind bars. Motions on behalf of the state and on Prater are to be filed by the end of March. Schaffer has a brief court appearance scheduled for March 17 in Worthington.
According to incident reports from Nobles County, suspected counterfeit bills were reported by at least five Worthington businesses.