Man charged with counterfeiting after police find $9,400 in bogus bills

Phillips counterfeiting hearing

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - A Wyoming man faces two felony charges after police recovered more than $9,400 in counterfeit money from his home along with equipment allegedly used to make the bogus bills.

Brandon Robert Phillips, 27, is charged with possession of counterfeit notes with intent to utter and publish, a seven-year felony. He’s also charged with possession of counterfeiting tools, a 10-year offense.

The investigation got underway earlier this month following a traffic stop in Cedar Springs. Phillips was a passenger in a car police stopped at Cedar and Fifth streets near the city’s business district. Kent County deputies located pieces of torn-up $20 bills and other $20 bills that all had the same serial number.

That led deputies and the U.S. Secret Service to a home on Colby Avenue SW in Wyoming where Phillips was staying.

Parked in the driveway was a 1989 Chevy pickup that was purchased with $650 in counterfeit bills, deputies said.

A search of the house and truck turned up $9,430 in counterfeit money, ink cartridges, printers, scrap paper and a paper cutter, court records show.

Kent County Undersheriff Michelle LaJoye-Young said the counterfeit money was used at gas stations, dollar stores and fast food restaurants.

“Counterfeit bills are so much easier to produce now because printing equipment is so much easier to get; high-quality printing equipment that can produce something that looks somewhat realistic,’’ LaJoye-Young said. “It’s certainly more easily accomplished by less sophisticated criminals.’’

Phillips appeared in 63rd District Court on Friday for a probable cause hearing. He waived the hearing, sending the case to Kent County Circuit Court.

Phillips, who has a prior conviction for attempted breaking and entering, is being held in the Kent County Jail on a $50,000 bond.

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