Ring leader pleads guilty to crime that was like "taking cash out of the register"

December 10, 2018 06:30 PM

One of the leaders of an organized counterfeit money scheme just admitted he did it. News10NBC reports how the scheme works, how the bad guys get away with real money and how the stores don't know until the fake money gets to the bank. 

That's what happened at Parkleigh just after Christmas last year. Twice in one day, counterfeit $100 bills were passed off in the store. 


"A couple of hundred dollars here or there could be a part time employee's pay check for a week," Parkleigh operations manager Daniel Mejack said. 

Police believe the counterfeiters bleach $1 bills and print $100 on them. The bills can pass basic store security checks. 
When the Parkleigh's bank eventually discovered the fake $100 bill, Mejack said he spent hours searching security footage and he says he found the people who did it. 

It was happening all over Monroe County. And two weeks after the Parkleigh job, Brighton and Brockport police and the Monroe County Sheriff's office arrested three people, including a man named Foday Feika. 

"We do believe that these individuals know each other," Brighton Chief Mark Henderson said. 

And on Monday December 3, Foday Feika pled guilty to possession of forged money, a class C felony.

Here's how police say the scheme works.

Men like Feika recruit people to work for them. The recruit takes a fake $100 bill into a store. The recruit buys something cheap and gets change in real money. The recruit keeps the good and gets a small kickback. And the recruiter -- like Feika -- keeps most of the money. 

And while it's not a violent crime, it can lead to violence. Feika himself was shot on Cady Street in Rochester a month and a half after he was arrested. Police believe his counterfeit ring hit stores like Wegmans, Bed Bath and Beyond and Parkleigh.

"It is the same as stealing. It's like taking cash out of the register," Mejack said. "Counterfeiters, shoplifters, all of those things nick away at the heart of your business little by little."
The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services says in 2017 someone was convicted of this forgery crime once every four days. Between January 1, 2018 and September 30, 2018, 42 people were convicted of the felony in New York State. 

As part of the plea deal, Feika gets probation and if he stays out of trouble, he stays out of jail. But because he pled to a felony, investigators say the goal is to get him deported- Feika was born in western Africa. ICE told News10NBC it doesn't say whether its investigating or not.

Feika's lawyer never answered our calls.  


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