Sand Hollow ranger nabs suspect allegedly passing fake $100 bill

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ST. GEORGE — A Nevada man faces multiple felony charges after he was arrested at Sand Hollow State Park attempting to pay the entrance fee using a fake $100 bill. Additional charges followed for allegedly passing a number of counterfeit bills at local stores.

Gill Simpson, 43, of Las Vegas, Nev., booking photo taken in Washington County, Utah, Sept. 15, 2019 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Gill Simpson, 43, of Las Vegas, Nevada, appeared in 5th District Court on Tuesday on two cases where he was charged with a total of five third-degree felony counts of forgery, four misdemeanor theft charges and one count of driving on a suspended/revoked license.

One forgery charge and the suspended license offense stems from an incident that took place Sunday at Sand Hollow State Park at about 1:30 p.m., when a park ranger was called to the entrance station by a park employee reporting that Simpson allegedly tried to pay for the entrance fee with a counterfeit $100 bill.

According to the probable cause statement filed in support of the arrest, the ranger retrieved the counterfeit bill from the entrance station and “immediately” could tell by the texture of the paper and the print that the $100 bill was counterfeit.

The ranger approached the suspect’s vehicle stopped on the side of the road near the entrance station. Simpson said he received the bill from his grandmother and was unaware it was counterfeit. Even as the ranger advised Simpson it was clear the bill was fake, the suspect continued to deny any knowledge the bill was counterfeit, court records say.

Meanwhile, police ran Simpson’s vehicle through a license plate check, which came back as belonging to a different vehicle make and model, at which point police learned Simpson was driving on a suspended license out of Nevada. He said the license plate was on the vehicle when he purchased it and again reiterated the $100 bill was given to him by his grandmother and that he had no idea it was fake.

Simpson was arrested and transported to Purgatory Correctional Facility on one third-degree felony forgery and driving on a suspended license. However, the following day the St. George Police Department submitted additional charges against Simpson, including four third-degree felony counts of forgery and four misdemeanor counts of theft related to incidents when the suspect allegedly passed four counterfeit $100 bills at a number of local stores in just as many days. Simpson was identified through surveillance footage and statements to police.

“Fortunately, the stores had quality surveillance equipment and witnesses who were able to provide police with good information on the suspect which helped identify him,” St. George Police Officer Tiffany Atkin told St. George News.

Atkin added that Simpson also attempted to pass the bills in Santa Clara and Mesquite, Nevada, but was unsuccessful.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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