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Counterfeit money in Matewan leads to arrest

Rachel Dove rdove@civitasmedia.com

June 27, 2014

MATEWAN — After vendors and staff members of the Matewan Hatfield and McCoy Festival that was held last weekend reported to local law enforcement they had received approximately $200 worth of counterfeit $20 bills, an investigation ensued that has now resulted in one arrest.


Mingo County Sheriff’s Deputy A. Mounts, who also serves as the Police Chief for the Town of Matewan and West Virginia State Police Trooper D.M. Williamson were dispatched to the downtown festival, and proceeded to speak with the festival officials regarding the alleged fake money. The person passing the counterfeit bills was identified by the vendors as Michael Williams, 23, of Varney, along with his girlfriend, Savannah Bowman.


Williams was still at the festival when law enforcement took the complaint against him. During the questioning process, a pat-down of the defendant was performed and he was found to be in possession of a plastic bag containing a green, leafy substance that was identified as approximately 1/2 ounce of marijuana. Williams also had $57 of U.S. Currency in his pocket. Bowman was found to have on her person a $20 bill that turned out to be counterfeit. Williams told the officers that the fake $20 belonged to him and that he had given it to his girlfriend.


According to the statute that governs counterfeiting money, committing this crime is a felony offense and upon conviction, carries a possible prison sentence of confinement not less than two years, nor more than ten years.


Williams was taken into custody and was charged with possession of a Schedule IV controlled substance (marijuana) and one count of passing counterfeit money. The defendant was arraigned before Mingo County Magistrate Dee Sidebottom and was remanded to the custody of the Southwestern Regional Jail at Holden, where he currently remains held in lieu of a $20,000 full-cash bond.