YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

4 Men Accused of Trying to Pass Fake Bills at Nightclub


The four young men lounging at Oxnard's Spearmint Rhino nightclub may have thought it would be easy to tip the exotic dancers with counterfeit $100 bills, authorities said.

It turned out to be more difficult than they thought, police said, since one of the dancers is a stripper by night, and bank teller by day.

Authorities arrested four men early Wednesday after the dancer told them she had spotted the generous tip as fake.

Arrested on suspicion of attempting to pass counterfeit money and possession of counterfeit money were Pablo Martinez, 19, of Fillmore and Ricardo Medina, 18, Mustafa Mohammed Alomari, 19, and Arthur Zarate, 21, all of Oxnard. The men face felony charges that could bring up to 10 years in prison, Secret Service Agent Kevin Riordan said.

The men doled out about four phony bills to the dancers before one of them noticed something odd about the money, authorities said.

"It was the paper, she noticed it just didn't feel right, it didn't feel like money," Riordan said. "The young lady, the dancer, she knew right off the bat it was counterfeit."

Riordan said the copy--which duplicated the new $100 bill that came out in 1996, a bill intended to be harder to reproduce--had other flaws. He said the note looked like a photocopy of a $100 bill rather than the genuine article. The bills were produced using a color scanner and home printer, Riordan said.

The dancer, who police declined to identify, took the bills to her manager, who called police. Officers arrived as the men were about to drive off.

Los Angeles Times Articles