An Anderson man passing phony bills with identical serial numbers who might have helped others print their own cash is facing federal charges, according to filings unsealed last week.
After a two-year investigation by the U.S. Secret Service, 31-year-old Shane Earl Abney was indicted on 13 counts of passing counterfeit obligations or securities. During his arraignment Friday, he pleaded not guilty.
Anderson police contacted federal agents after Abney used three $100 bills at two stores two days apart — all with the same serial number — then was arrested four days later after trying to pass a counterfeit $100 bill at a third store, according to an affidavit.
During that arrest, which happened Feb. 15, 2018, police said he had 10 $10 bills with matching serial numbers, three $100 bills that also shared serial numbers and two fentanyl patches. On his cellphone, he had images of real bills and a pamphlet, “Know Your Money,” the Secret Service publishes on security features in U.S. currency.
Purchases with counterfeit cash continued, with federal authorities tallying nine more transactions, which happened in Anderson, Clemson, Greenville and Pendleton. Across the 12 transactions, agents say Abney passed $3,180 in fake money.
At one point, investigators showed up at Abney’s residence and he denied any knowledge of wrongdoing — although his girlfriend told investigators she knew why they were there and Abney did, too. At another point, agents visited him in jail after he was arrested in January. According to a court filing, Abney told Secret Service “he ‘did not do anything wrong’ and that we were ‘not about to come in there and scare him.’”
During a search as part of an unrelated investigation, an Iva man who now lives in Abbeville told investigators he received counterfeit bills and a Kodak printer from Abney’s step-brother, or at least that is whose name he was given. The description of the person, however, matched Abney and the vehicle, described in the affidavit as “a white moped that was poorly spray painted black,” he drove.
Federal agents also spoke with Abney’s step-brother after his arrest on a drug count. A court filing says he admitted to printing $20,000 to $30,000 in bogus bills, something Abney had taught him. He didn’t know what kind of printer Abney was using but said he used a cheap Canon that he’d discarded in a wooded area in Iva. The step-brother mostly used the money to buy drugs, he told investigators.
Only Abney faces federal charges in connection with this case. Each count carries a sentence of up to 20 years and prosecutors are seeking through forfeiture “a sum of money equal to all property the Defendant obtained as a result of the offenses,” plus interest.
Magistrate Judge Kevin McDonald denied bond for Abney. His order for detention said the decision is because Abney “has more than 20 convictions over 13 years” and continued using counterfeit currency after he’d been caught by authorities despite being on probation and out on multiple bonds.
“He is not a good candidate for bond here,” the order said.