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Central Minnesota man faces charges of passing counterfeit bills

LITTLE FALLS, Minn. —A 27-year-old central Minnesota man faces the prospect of prison time following his arrest for manufacturing counterfeit $20 bills in Morrison County.

Derek James Merten of Lastrup was charged Jan. 14 for felony counterfeiting of currency by manufacturing or printing and gross misdemeanor counterfeiting of currently in his possession.

The felony charge has a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and/or a $100,000 fine.

According to the criminal complaint, the Morrison County Sheriff's Office received a report Jan. 11 from Unity Bank that it received eight $20 counterfeit bills from the Dollar General store in Genola. Later that day, Farmers and Merchants State Bank reported it received five $20 counterfeit bills from Tiny's Tavern in Lastrup. The Dollar General store in Little Falls also reported it received two counterfeit $20 bills.

Further investigation led authorities to Merten's residence. When Merten appeared at the door, the deputy noticed two $20 bills sticking out of his pocket that appeared to be counterfeit, the complaint stated. The deputy found nine counterfeit bills on Merten's person and a search warrant uncovered 13 more.

An omnibus hearing was scheduled Feb. 25 for Merten.

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