A Janesville resident allegedly used counterfeit money at J-Town Liquor and was arrested and charged, after an employee noticed bills with the same serial number.

Benjamin Taylor, 24, was charged with two felony counts of counterfeiting currency, plus three other non-felony counts, including drug possession. According to the complaint, officers found equipment for counterfeiting money and drugs in Taylor’s place of residence.

It allegedly started on August 28, 2018 when a male, Taylor, came into J-Town Liquor and bought alcohol with two counterfeit $1 bills. Three days later, an employee found more counterfeit money and called the police to report it. Another two days passed, and on September 2, 2018, an employee called the police again to report more counterfeit money and that the same male, Taylor, had used more alleged counterfeit $1 bills to purchase items.

This time, it was reported that the employee was able to show the officer a surveillance camera photo of the male, Taylor, and his alleged car, which included the license plate.

Officers were able to locate the vehicle and ask around the apartment building it was found at until they found the correct apartment he was visiting. Once they found Taylor, they asked him if he had been to J-Town Liquor that same day, September 2, and he reportedly responded “Yes.”

When Taylor was asked if he knew the money he spent was counterfeit, he allegedly responded “No” and the officers placed him under arrest for the counterfeit money and brought Taylor to the officers patrol vehicle. Another officer arrived to the scene and transported Taylor to Waseca County Jail.

After arresting Taylor, the officers obtained a search warrant for Taylor’s bedroom at a family member’s home and his vehicle. According to the complaint, when the officers entered his room, they found a laptop and paper with a cut out rectangle that appeared to match up with the size of the alleged counterfeit currency. The officers reported finding rejected photo copy attempts of $1 dollar bills, $5 dollar bills and $10 dollar bills.

Upon further search, an officer found a bag filled with needles and a scale. The officer asked the family member present if Taylor was a diabetic to which the family member allegedly responded that Taylor is a drug addict and that he injected heroin. The officer reportedly left the home Taylor was staying in to obtain another search warrant to search for drug related items. The officer returned with the search warrant to the house and continued the investigation.

The officer was able to find more drug related items in a night stand. Items that were reportedly found in Taylor’s bedroom are eight syringes and needles, tin foil, a scale and elastic bands. Counterfeit items reportedly seized were a laptop, printer, paper clippings, several counterfeit bills, gold paint marker, flash drive and cell phone.

The officer then searched Taylor’s car and reportedly found a homemade water bong and a blue pocket book. In the trunk was a Black Sentry Safe, and inside of it, there were two syringes and needles, and both were tested positive for heroin, according to the complaint.

Later in the evening of Sept. 2 another deputy was able to interview Taylor at the jail, and Taylor reportedly admitted to using the $1 bills at J-Town Liquor. He allegedly said he had gotten them back as change for a larger bill but denied having any equipment to make counterfeit bills.

Taylor reportedly admitted to a drug addiction and stated that he had shot heroin potentially a month before and that he had smoked meth earlier that day with another person.

On Sept. 4, the chief of Janesville Police contacted a senior special agent of the United States Secret Service and briefed her on this matter and that evidence was seized. This agent responded that this case didn’t meet the threshold for the USSS to take on this investigation.

The agent was able to provide the USSS counterfeit tracking report, showing four counterfeit bills with the same serial numbers had been passed in this region of the state. The agent also indicated that the bills appeared to be downloaded from images on the internet and printed.

Reach Reporter Bailey Grubish at 507-837-5451 or follow her on Twitter @wcnbailey.

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