Mt. Pleasant Man arrested with $30K in fake money he bought off the internet

Crime Tracker

MOUNT PLEASANT, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Mount Pleasant man was arrested with more than $30,000 dollars worth of counterfeit money on his person.

The man told police he bought the fake $100’s and $20’s on the internet for around $30 bucks.

Dustin Lay was caught on camera coming to Joe’s Market in Mount Pleasant. It’s here that police say, Wednesday morning, he tried to pass one of those fake $20’s that he bought online.

Chief Michael Hay says “This is very unusual. We get counterfeit money frequently, but usually less than $100. I’ve never made a case this big where it is $30,000 dollars.”

News 2 obtained video from Joe’s market that shows Lay showing up Wednesday morning. It shows the 32-year-old trying to buy cigarettes with a fake $20 bill, just like police say he did the day before.

But this time, according to investigators, the clerk recognized the bill is a phony. She marked it and then handed it back to Lay who put the $20 in his pocket.

Police will later find that marked $20 on Lay’s person as well as $30,000 other dollars in 100’s and 20’s.

The manager of Joe’s market told News 2, he knew the $20 was bogus and he says the clerk did a great job recognizing that on Wednesday.

“Fine, she did great. The first time she got busy and did not catch it. But as soon as I saw the $20 dollar bill I said this is fake money.”

Sgt. Ray Odom interviewed Lay Wednesday afternoon.

During the interview, the body cam captures this encounter.

Odom: “What about yesterday when you gave her a fake $20 bill?”

Lay: “I didn’t know that I gave her a fake $20 bill. I did not know the $20 was fake I promise you. I would not do anything to jeopardize my kids or anything. Not anymore, just after I got out of jail and all that.”

After his arrest on two counts of criminal simulation, officers found $30,000 more counterfeit dollars in Lay’s pants.

Lay initially told officers he bought the fake money for his daughter so she could learn how to count cash.

Lay: “It’s my daughter’s stuff.”

Odom: “That’s your daughter’s stuff?”

Lay: “Yeah.”

Odom: “Come on now, this is your daughter’s stuff? That’s a fake $100 bill.”

Chief Hay says, “He bought it online. It’s very accessible online, unfortunately. It is really good quality.”

Joe says Lay is an everyday customer at the store who surprisingly showed up to buy merchandise Thursday morning.

Joe says “Yes he comes in every day. Yes, he come in and gave me $10.”

Joe says he inspected Lay’s cash very closely. “Yeah, I have to. I don’t trust him.”

Lay was arrested on two counts of criminal simulation. He made bond and is out of jail.

Police say the bills looked authentic, but there were tiny Chinese symbols on the 100’s and the word replica on the 20’s.

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