Jun. 10—EAU CLAIRE — Two people are linked to a significant counterfeit money case where fake bills were passed in at least three Eau Claire stores this spring, authorities say.
One of the suspects also passed fake bills in at least one Menomonie store, police said.
Tom Xiong, 37, of St. Paul, Minn., was charged recently in Eau Claire County Court with four felony counts of uttering a forgery and a misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia.
Sheena J. Ojibway-DeCoteau, 36, 222 Oak St., is charged with a felony count of uttering a forgery and two misdemeanor counts of bail jumping.
Xiong is free on a $3,000 signature bond, which prohibits him from having contact with his co-defendant and the victimized stores. He returns to court July 15.
Ojibway-DeCoteau is scheduled to make her initial court appearance on June 22.
According to the criminal complaint:
An employee at Scheels, 4710 Golf Road, told police an Asian male used a counterfeit $100 bill for a $42 transaction on March 9. He left the store in a black two-door car.
On May 3, a man bought a $476 crossbow and a few other items using four fake $100 bills and a counterfeit $50 bill at Fleet Farm, 3165 Old Town Hall Road.
On May 1, the same man used three counterfeit $100 bills to buy items at the Fleet Farm store in Menomonie.
Based on surveillance video, police believed the same man was involved in all three incidents. He was later identified as Xiong. Xiong and a woman later identified as Ojibway-DeCoteau each passed a counterfeit $100 bill on May 17 at May's Floral Garden, 3424 Jeffers Road.
Xiong's vehicle was pulled over on June 3 during a traffic stop in Eau Claire. Xiong had a fake $50 bill in his wallet and drug paraphernalia in his car. Inside the vehicle's glove box, police found pieces of counterfeit bills and papers used for manufacturing counterfeit money.
Officers also found several receipts for transactions that were paid for in cash, particularly in $50 and $100 increments.
The search of Xiong's vehicle also revealed office supplies for cutting, slicing and printing. Additional counterfeit bills were located being pressed inside books.
In the back seat was a container that had office and printing supplies as well as pieces of paper with the heads of President Ulysses Grant and Benjamin Franklin. They are on the $50 and $100 bills, respectively.
Ojibway-DeCoteau was free on bond for pending criminal cases in Eau Claire County.
If convicted of the felony charges, Xiong and Ojibway-DeCoteau could be sentenced to up to 12 and three years in prison, respectively.