ST. GEORGE — Police arrested a California couple earlier this week for allegedly producing and using counterfeit $100 bills.
Dean Anthony Fagas, 46, of Barstow, California, and Crista Jeanette Avila, 38, of Canyon Country, California, were arrested and booked into the Purgatory Correctional Facility Monday for multiple felonies related to forgery and other offenses. An additional felony for the theft of a rental vehicle was added Wednesday.
According to St. George police records, employees at the Smith’s supermarket on Bluff Street contacted police after they grew suspicious of a woman, identified as Avila, attempting to use a $100 bill they believed was counterfeit. Responding police officers were supplied with surveillance video of the woman as well as a description of the car she drove.
Police later spotted the car in the parking lot of the Walgreens on St. George Boulevard where police also found and detained Avila. While detained she was found to have five fake $100 bills on her.
After Avila was arrested she told officers that she knew the money was fake and she had tried to use one of the bills at Smith’s earlier that day. When employees became suspicious she withdrew it and used real cash instead, according to police.
Avila also used the counterfeit bills at the Walmart on Pioneer Road, as well as at a wireless communications store where she purchased a cell phone prior to her arrest, according to police.
The source of the bills, Avila told police, was her boyfriend, Fagas, who was taking $1 bills, washing them with acetone, and then using a computer and printer to reprint them as $100 bills back at their hotel room.