Three people from Ste. Genevieve, Mo., pleaded guilty Thursday to felony counts of passing counterfeit obligations.
Kenneth J. Ritrovato Jr. and Aaron Ahrens pleaded guilty to one count of dealing in counterfeit obligations, one count of possession of counterfeit obligations and two counts of passing counterfeit obligations. Rebecca Duncan pleaded guilty to two counts of passing counterfeit obligations.
Each now faces a maximum penalty of 20 years' imprisonment and a $250,000 fine or both, on each count, Sentencing has been set for Aug. 17 and 18.
On Nov. 30, Ritrovato and Ahrens entered two Rhodes 101 stores in Perryville, Mo., and were captured on video purchasing liquor, cigarettes and fuel, according to a news release from the federal prosecutor's office. Duncan waited in the car.
Both stores reported receiving counterfeit $20 bills with identical serial numbers that day.
The store clerks reported seeing the two men get into a black Ford Mustang with Missouri plates that was later stopped by Missouri State Highway Patrol officers in Pemiscot County, Mo. Ahrens was seen trying to conceal two counterfeit notes, and Ritrovato was found with 13 counterfeit $20 bills with the same serial number and three others with a different number.
According to the federal prosecutor's office, Ritrovato told Duncan and Ahrens earlier on Nov. 30 that he had printed the bills, and asked Duncan to wrinkle them so they'd look used.
The three proceeded south on Interstate 55, stopping at several gas stations and purchasing alcohol, tobacco, and fuel and fuel with the phony bills.