ALPENA ‚ÄďProsecutors told a judge Thursday they may need more time to find out if a 17-year-old Alpena man, already charged with three felony counts of uttering and publishing counterfeit bills or notes, used the phoney bills more often than they already know.
At a probable cause hearing on Thursday, 88th District Court Judge Thomas LaCross determined there was enough evidence that Michael Standridge may have committed a crime and allowed the case to move forward.
A preliminary examination slated for Aug. 9 could be delayed because Alpena County Prosecutor Ed Black is allowing the Alpena City Police more time to determine if more of the fake money was used and if additional changes are necessary.
Standridge is accused of using fake $100 bills to purchase items in the area. If convicted, he could face up to five years in prison and/or a $2,500 fine. The faux bills that were allegedly used were studio prop bills, used in movie and television shows and not something Standridge made himself.
On the phoney bills, it does state that the use if them is for motion picture use only.
Black said there was discussion with defense attorney Michael Lamble and both decided it was best not to schedule the next hearing until more facts about the case are learned.
‚ÄúWe conversed about the case and had conversations and counsel and I are not are setting up preliminary examination at this time,‚ÄĚ Black said. ‚ÄúWe have also had discussions on the legal matter of the case and other relevant matters, those being there could be additional cases out there. I would like to check with the city police department before we decide what we‚Äôre going to do.‚ÄĚ
Lamble told the judge that the defense would not be requesting the production any of witnesses at the hearing Thursday.
When police arrested Standridge at his home on Parsons Street in Alpena, several of the fake bills were confiscated, as well as other items police believe may have been purchased with such bills.
Alpena Police Chief Joel Jett said there is evidence that the some of the items that were confiscated could have been from online transactions and the bogus bills were used to dupe the seller. He said people who are conducting any type of cash transaction should use caution and look closely at the money. If the money does not appear to be real, people should contact authorities.
‚ÄúWe believe that some of the bills involved were used in association with social media contacts,‚ÄĚ Jett said. ‚ÄúPeople need to be diligent when dealing with money, especially with large bills, because, as it stands now, if you accept it, you own it. Fortunately, we were able to find the suspect quickly and hopefully avoided more of this stuff being used.‚ÄĚ
Acquiring the studio money is not difficult and it is not expensive. It is available online and a stack of 100 bills can cost as little as $25.
Steve Schulwitz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 989-358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter @ss_alpenanews.