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Pembroke man denies passing counterfeit money

A Pembroke man yesterday denied charges that he knowingly used fake money at a pair of Front Street nightspots.

While Ronico Richardson, 25, admitted using forged US $50 bills at both The Beach and Cafe Cairo, he said he had no idea the bills were forgeries, saying he won them in a Court Street gambling den earlier.

However the Middletown man pleaded guilty to a series of unrelated traffic offences and two counts of possessing cannabis.

According to Crown counsel Tawana Tannock, at around 12.30am on November 18, Richardson attended Cafe Cairo where he bought a beer and a rum and coke with what appeared to be a $50 US bill, receiving $33.95 in change. Not long after, he went to The Beach and attempted to exchange another US $50 for smaller bills.

However staff at The Beach noticed that the texture of the bill didn’t seem right, and the bill lacked a water mark.

Manager Jeremy Paris went to confront Richardson, but he ran from the area and was arrested by officers nearby in Chancery Lane. Questioned by the officers, he allegedly told police his name was Shae Butterfield.

Not long after the arrest, Mr Paris reportedly called staff at Cafe Cairo and warned them that they may have received false currency. A search of the tills revealed fake US bills. Appearing in Magistrates’ Court yesterday, attorney Kenville Savoury, representing Richardson, said his client admits using the fake bills, but that he had no knowledge that the money was not real.

Mr Savoury said his client only became suspicious when he heard the manager telling police that they had been given false currency. “As a result, he became afraid that it was him,” Mr Savoury said. “Out of fear, he just ran. He didn’t want to get himself into trouble.”

While Richardson pleaded not guilty to four counts of dishonesty and one count of giving police false information, he pleaded guilty to two charges of cannabis possession in connection with two unrelated incidents.

He also admitted failing to stop for police, driving without due care and driving without insurance in an incident on April 2.

According to prosecutors, on that day he led police on a chase through Hamilton, driving though multiple red lights before eventually ditching his bike and trying to escape on foot. Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo fined Richardson a total of $1,000 for the drug offences, ordering that the money be paid immediately or Richardson would face 50 days in prison in default.

He also fined him a total of $1,550 for the traffic matters, with that fine to be paid by December 30. And regarding the dishonesty charges, Mr Tokunbo released Richardson on $5,000 bail with a like surety. The matter is expected to return to Magistrates’ Court for trial on March 1.

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Published November 22, 2011 at 8:50 am (Updated November 22, 2011 at 8:50 am)

Pembroke man denies passing counterfeit money

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