Suspect faces charges for allegedly passing counterfeit $100 bills at yard sales in Washington, St. George

Composite image with background photo by Ofc Pictures/iSTock/Getty Images Plus; overlay photo by Zeferli//iSTock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Two agencies have submitted multiple charges against a suspect accused of paying for merchandise purchased at garage sales in both Washington City and St. George using counterfeit $100 bills – charges that were filed after the suspect was booked into Purgatory Correctional Facility on a probation hold.

Danielle Marie Richardson, 39, of St. George, booking photo taken in Washington County, Utah, Jan. 26, 2021 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

The first incident took place Jan. 10 when officers were dispatched to a residence in Washington City after an individual called authorities reporting that a woman paid for several items with what turned out to be a counterfeit $100 bill.

The reporting party provided a description of the suspect who purchased $25 worth of items at a yard sale and was given $75 in change. It wasn’t until the suspect left that they realized the bill was a fake.

Five days later a woman with the same suspect description purchased several items totaling the same dollar amount using a counterfeit $100 bill at a yard sale on West 600 North in St. George. The following day, the same woman allegedly attempted to pay for $11 worth of items with a counterfeit bill, but the scheme was thwarted when the proprietor refused to accept it. At that point the suspect paid using her Venmo account, which identified her as 39-year-old Danielle Richardson, information that was relayed to police.

Meanwhile, the investigation in Washington City was still ongoing when officers came upon similar incidents reported in St. George that also involved a suspect that fit the description as the woman who allegedly passed the counterfeit bill at a yard sale there. The officers obtained a booking photo of the suspect, which was then taken to the seller who positively identified the suspect as the same woman she encountered in her yard that day.

Officers also noted that the fake bill recovered by St. George Police had the same serial number as the one collected from the incident reported in Washington City.

During an interview, the suspect told officers she went to several yard sales that day and paid for items using three counterfeit $100 bills that she had received from a male friend. The list of items she recited matched the statements gleaned from the reporting parties.

The officer also noted that Richardson said she “did not remember a lot of the details from the incident because she was high on Methamphetamine and Heroin.”

The report also states that Richardson admitted during the interview that her goal was “to pass the counterfeit bills and receive real money as change,” by purchasing “a decent amount” of merchandise to make the sale less conspicuous.

The Washington City officer then submitted two charges: a third-degree felony possession of a forgery-writing device and misdemeanor theft by deception charges to the Washington County Attorney’s Office for review. The theft by deception charge was added, the officer wrote, since the suspect “deceived the victim” into giving her change using a bill she allegedly knew was counterfeit in exchange for legitimate currency.

In St. George, officers submitted one third-degree felony count of possession of a forgery-writing device and a misdemeanor count of the same charge, along with two counts of theft by deception, each a misdemeanor, under the same premise of deceiving the victim.

Richardson, who has multiple cases and convictions, according to court records, was in jail when the charges were submitted for review following her arrest Tuesday for an outstanding warrant issued out of 5th District Court.

The warrant was issued in connection with a case filed in July 2020 involving a traffic stop where officers allegedly found heroin on her person. She was charged with felony possession of a controlled substance and misdemeanor paraphernalia possession.

She pleaded guilty to the charges and was placed on probation for 12 months in October and ordered to pay a fine of $53, while more than $4,900 in fines was suspended in the case. Following the hearing, a series of warrants were issued in the case, one of which was signed Tuesday, and she was arrested later that same evening.

The suspect remains in custody on the current offenses as well as the hold for allegedly violating probation.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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