AMSTERDAM - A young couple working together passed 13 counterfeit $100 bills at a local department store before being arrested on felony forgery charges, the Montgomery County Sheriff's Department said this morning.
Police said Ethan M. Whitman, 20, of 176 Blanchard Road in the town of Johnstown, and Carley M. Goguen, 18, of 539 County Highway 123 in Mayfield, were arrested Wednesday and charged with criminal possession of a forged instrument. Goguen also was charged with grand larceny.
Sheriff's Department Investigator Bradley Schaffer said Whitman was a clerk in the electronics department at the Target department store in the town, where he sold $1,227 in merchandise to Goguen, his girlfriend, on April 30.
Goguen paid with 13 counterfeit $100 bills, then later returned one of the items in exchange for about $800 cash, Schaffer said.
"The quality is so poor, we're certain no reasonable person who's handled money would believe these were authentic bills," Schaffer said.
Schaffer said he believes Whitman made the counterfeit bills, but the department didn't yet have evidence to support an additional charge. He said the serial number on the bills matches the serial number on bills in a counterfeiting case in Fulton County, so more charges are possible.
Target officials contacted the U.S. Secret Service, which investigates counterfeiting claims, and the Sheriff's Department joined the investigation Friday.
Whitman and Goguen were arrested after deputies reviewed store surveillance footage.
The couple was arraigned in Town Court. Whitman is being held at the Montgomery County Jail in lieu of $15,000 bail. Gougen was released after posting $10,000 bond, the Sheriff's Department said.
Whitman also is facing several charges in Fulton County after state police said he gave a tattoo to a 16-year-old girl, then threatened her and her mother. He was charged with two counts each of unlawfully dealing with a child and endangering the welfare of a child in March and also one count of intimidating a victim and witness in April. The intimidation charge is a felony.
Bill Pitcher is the city editor and can be reached at email@example.com.