ELLSWORTH, Maine — An East Machias man is facing criminal charges after he confessed Tuesday to passing fake $50 bills at Walmarts in Ellsworth, Bangor and Calais, according to local police.
The man, Lawrence Cormier, 40, was detained Tuesday by security officers in the Ellsworth Walmart after they recognized him as the man security cameras had recorded in the same store the night before, Lt. Harold Page said Tuesday.
Page said Cormier and a woman had been in the Walmart on Monday night when Cormier allegedly used fake $50 bills at three separate cash registers in the store. The bills were printed in high detail on both sides but had the same serial numbers and incidental pen marks, according to Page.
By midday Tuesday, store staffers had discovered the fake bills and were about to contact local police when a security officer, who was carrying the evidence in his hand, saw Cormier and his companion in the store directly in front of him.
Store staffers detained the couple and called police, Page said. Page said he went to the store, where Cormier soon confessed to using the fake money.
But while Page was talking to Cormier, store security found out that a man resembling Cormier had passed identical fake $50 bills at the Calais Walmart on Sunday and at the Bangor Walmart on Monday. Among the three stores, Cormier is accused of passing six fake $50 bills.
When confronted with the additional information, Cormier confessed to passing the fake money at the other stores, too, Page said.
Cormier, who was charged with theft by deception and forgery, refused to tell police how or where he got the fake money, according to Page.
The woman Cormier was with was not charged, Page said. Cormier, the only one of the two caught by store cameras passing the fake money, said she was not involved, the lieutenant said.
“She denies knowing anything about it,” Page said. “I don’t have enough to charge her.”
Page said the Secret Service, which investigates cases involving counterfeit U.S. currency, has been contacted.