IZARD COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE PRESS RELEASE
The Izard County Sheriff's Office continues to investigate multiple counterfeit/fake dollar bills being passed in Izard County. As of this time, charges have been filed on 2 individuals and more investigations are pending.
On January 20th, 2023 a felony warrant was filed against Mason Chism in Izard County Circuit Court for 6 counts of Forgery in the First Degree after Chism passed 6 fake $20.00 bills collectively at 2 separate businesses in Calico Rock. Chism is last known to be a Baxter County resident and is still at large.
On January 24th at approximately 1:00 A.M., deputies were patrolling Horseshoe Bend when they encountered two individuals with active warrants. The two individuals were arrested on unrelated misdemeanor warrants out of Izard County. Upon the arrest, over $7000.00 of fake $100 dollar bills were discovered on their persons. During this time, investigators already had several active cases in which counterfeit/fake money and checks were allegedly being used within Izard County as well as surrounding counties. Investigators began reviewing these reports in an attempt to identify individuals distributing these bills and begin pursuing criminal charges against them.
On January 24th, The Izard County Sheriff's Office along with the 16th Judicial District Drug Task Force and Arkansas Probation Parole and Community Corrections participated in a state wide operation which targeted distributors of illicit narcotics. During this operation, an additional $3300.00 in fake $100 dollar bills were confiscated from another individual in Horseshoe Bend.
Later the same date, Izard County officers received a report regarding the purchase of a generator that was purchased using fake $100 dollar bills which occurred on January 21st. While investigating this case, it was determined that a vehicle and camper trailer was also purchased outside of Izard County using fraudulent checks. Investigators acted quickly and were able to locate and recover the vehicle, camper and generator and return them to their owners. Neighboring jurisdictions are still investigating elements of these cases.
On January 26th, Shaun Clair Bickford of Horseshoe Bend was charged in Izard County Circuit Court with 4 counts of Forgery in the first degree.
Anyone caught knowingly passing a counterfeit bill, "movie prop", "replica" "training" money or any other non-legal tender of ANY amount will be sought out and charged with Forgery in the First Degree at a minimum. Forgery in the first degree is a Class B felony.
The Izard County Sheriff's Office wants local businesses and barterers to be mindful of the bills they are receiving. As of right now, it is legal to purchase fake "training" monies of all denominations from some popular online merchants.
Pictured are some of the fake bills being encountered in our area. These are by no means the only variants, but have common traits to many fake bills. Most fake bills that are being legally sold will say "prop money", "Replica", "for Motion Picture Use only", "Training", etc. The bills often do not feel consistent with real currency, however what has been observed are the crinkling of the bills and including them in with real bills to try and pass them off.
We hope these pictures and press releases will raise public awareness about this increasingly popular crime. We urge store owners to educate staff about this matter and contact the Sheriff's Office if you encounter any fake currency.