Florence man sentenced to federal prison for part in multi-state counterfeit money scheme

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A Florence man was sentenced to federal prison for his part in a multi-state counterfeit money scheme. 

On Thursday, 28-year-old Michael James Bembry was sentenced to two years in federal prison “for conspiracy to to manufacture and pass counterfeit money and manufacturing counterfeit money,” a press release from Sherri A. Lydon, U.S. Attorney for the District of South Carolina. 

“Evidence presented to the court showed that Bembry was involved in a conspiracy to manufacture and pass counterfeit $100 and $50 bills in multiple states, including South Carolina, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey,” states the release. “This conspiracy, which began in 2015, included at least nine defendants who were responsible for making and passing over $100,000 in counterfeit money.”

Bembry, and others, allegedly manufactured counterfeit money at several residences in Florence and in a room at the Roosevelt Hotel in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 

They “produced counterfeit $100 bills on genuine currency paper, then visited various local businesses, where they would purchase small items or services with the counterfeit $100 bills in order to obtain genuine currency as change,” adds the release. “In May 2015, multiple counterfeit $100 bills, a genuine $100 “parent note,” a printer, and other counterfeiting materials were seized by local law enforcement from a car Bembry was driving in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey. Later, in July 2016, Bembry and a codefendant passed a counterfeit $100 bill at a business in Bryson City, North Carolina.”

Seven of Bembry’s co-conspirators have pled guilty to federal crimes for their participation in the scheme.

A U.S. District Judge sentenced Bembry to 24 months in federal prison, followed by three years of court-ordered supervision. There is no parole in the federal system. 

The case was investigated by agents of the U.S. Secret Service, the Florence County Sheriff’s Office, the Florence Police Department, the Egg Harbor Township Police Department in New Jersey, and the Bryson City Police Department in North Carolina. 

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