EXCLUSIVE: Local retailers see upswing in bogus $50 bills

EXCLUSIVE: Local retailers see upswing in bogus $50 bills

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu Police are investigating a rash of counterfeit $50 bills that have flooded isle retailers, with the latest case involving a 36-year-old Kailua man who was arrested Tuesday after he allegedly tried to pass four bogus $50 bills to a 7-Eleven store in Kailua.

Roman Mallory has seven convictions -- mostly for theft and burglary -- and police are now are looking into whether he's connected to a counterfeiting ring.

Sources say that Mallory came to the 7-Eleven on Onewa Street in Kailua, where he made purchases using 3 counterfeit $50 bills."

Mallory then came back to the same store the very next day and tried to pass off another phony $50-bill.

This time, though, an alert store clerk recognized the fake, prompting Mallory to flee. He was arrested about a mile away.

Retailers say they're seeing an upswing in the phony greenbacks.

"We see it fairly often probably more often than we'd would like to," said Carol Pregill of the Retail Merchants of Hawaii. "It's like someone creates a number of counterfeit bills and tries to flood the market with them."

Bunny Ha, owner of Kainehe Liquor in Kailua, says she's seen several counterfeit bills over the years. She said she's been able to cut her losses by using this simple trick.

"I put water and just slide it," Ha said. "The counterfeit money is kind of broken. I do check that way."

For now, HPD has opened a forgery case against Mallory. If the Secret Service takes over at some point, federal charges could bring stiffer penalties.

Copyright 2012 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.