Career criminal arrested after counterfeiting crime spree

A counterfeit money trail ended on Monday with the arrest of an Inverness woman.

The Citrus County Sheriff's Office said that Teresa Hare, 46, of 1505 S. Mohican Trail in Inverness, now faces multiple fraud charges after using numerous fake bills at several local businesses throughout the county.

It all started in May, the Sheriff's Office said, when several counterfeiting cases started coming into the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office. Nine local businesses were claiming someone was buying products with fake money. “She was bleaching and washing lesser bills and then re-printing them to look like 50s and 100s,” Detective Bryan Vick said, who was the lead investigator in the case.

Deputies were able to identify Hare after pouring through hours of surveillance video from local businesses. “As soon as we started to see similarities at some of the businesses, we knew it was the same person. We’ve had several cases involving Ms. Hare, and I knew it was her on the video,” Detective Vick said.

Once detectives narrowed in on Hare as the one who was allegedly passing the fake bills, the search was on to find her. Hare knew she was wanted on previous warrants for resisting arrest and driving while license suspended, the Sheriff's Office said in a media release.

On Monday, June 26, while Detective Vick was in the area of West Gulf to Lake Highway and South Rock Crusher Road, he spotted a white minivan matching the description of a vehicle in multiple open fraud cases. He saw the minivan turn off State Road 44 and onto Rock Crusher Road, and he was able to determine that the driver was not wearing a seatbelt and stopped the minivan.

A few minutes later, while he was talking with the driver, the Sheriff's Office said, a female occupant in the vehicle got out and started running away. Detective Vick recognized her as Teresa Hare, and gave her several verbal commands to stop. She was apprehended a short time later and taken to the Citrus County detention facility.

Detective Vick found a small plastic baggie containing methamphetamine inside Hare’s purse after she dropped it running from the traffic stop, the arrest report said. A K9 deputy and his K9 partner were called out to search the vehicle. Inside they located 30 milliliters of meth inside a syringe and a baggie filled with approximately 0.4 grams of meth.

Detective Vick later obtained a search warrant for Hare's house. Investigators found laptops, printers, wash solution and shredded money -- all linking Teresa to these fraud cases, the arrest report said.

“Teresa Hare is no stranger to criminal activity”, Major Crimes Sergeant Stephen Conley said. “Once this trend was identified, Detective Vick hit the ground running, and through his hard work and motivation, he stopped this individual from victimizing more businesses.”

Hare was arrested on several charges:

  • Scheme to Defraud – 1 count, $5,000 bond
  • Uttering Forged Bills- 6 counts, $12,000 bond
  • Forgery of a Bank Bill- 6 counts, $12,000 bond
  • Possession of a Firearm by a Felon- 1 count, $10,000
  • Possession of Methamphetamine- 1 count, $2,000 bond
  • Resisting Arrest Without Violence- 2 counts, $2,000 bond
  • Possession of Drug Paraphernalia- 1 count, $1,000 bond
  • Attach Tag not Assigned- 1 count, $500 bond
  • VOP- Fraudulent use of Personal ID, Uttering Forged Instrument,
  • Forgery/altered document- No Bond
  • VOP- Organized Fraud under $20,000- No bond
  • VOP- Possession of Methamphetamine- No bond
  • FTA- Driving while license suspended- $4,000 bond

Detectives recommend businesses protect themselves by taking these necessary precautions:

* Hold a bill up to a light and look for a holograph of the face image on the bill. Both images should match. If the $100 bill has been bleached, the hologram will display an image of Abraham Lincoln, who appears on the $5 bills, instead of Benjamin Franklin. Looking at the bill through a light will also reveal a thin vertical strip containing text that spells out the bill’s denomination.

* Watermark: Hold the bill up to a light to view the watermark in an unprinted space to the right of the portrait. The watermark can be seen from both sides of the bill since it is not printed on the bill but is embedded in the paper.

* Security Thread: Hold he bill a light to view the security thread. You will see a thin imbedded strip running from top to bottom on the face of a banknote. In the $10 and $50the security strip is located to the right of the portrait, and in the $5, $20 and $100, it is located just to the left of the portrait.

* Comparison: Compare the feel and texture of the paper with other bills you know are authentic.