COLUMBIA, S.C. -- A Florence man has pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiracy to manufacture and pass counterfeit money.
Michael James Bembry, 28, also faced charges in Pennsylvania for manufacturing counterfeit money, according to a release issued by the US Attorney’s office. The Pennsylvania charges were transferred to South Carolina and Bembry pleaded to both before US District Judge Bryan Harwell in Florence.
“The evidence presented at the guilty plea hearing established 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,” according to 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 other conspirators manufactured counterfeit money at several residences in Florence, South Carolina, and in a room at the Roosevelt Hotel in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,” according to 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 co-defendant passed a counterfeit $100 bill at a business in Bryson City, North Carolina,” according to the release.
When sentence is handed down he could face up to 20 years and a fine of $250,000.
The case was investigated by agents of United States Secret Service, the Florence County Sheriff’s Office, the Florence Police Department, the Egg Harbor Township Police Department, and the Bryson City Police Department.