CORNVILLE – The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office has arrested a second suspect in a Cornville-based counterfeit money operation.
Monday, 38-year-old Stara Brummett was booked at the detention center in Camp Verde on numerous charges including possessing forgery equipment, falsely making a written instrument, fraudulent schemes, theft, possession of a forged instrument, and possession of dangerous drugs. She remains in-custody on a $25,000 bond.
One day later, 34-year-old Nathan Grover Hoffman was booked into the county jail on charges of fraudulent schemes, possession of forgery equipment, falsely making a written instrument, possession of a forged instrument and possession of dangerous drugs.
According to a news release from Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office Media Relations Coordinator Dwight D’Evelyn, investigators determined Hoffman was a participant in the counterfeit operation. He was living at the Kadamoto Drive home with Brummett, said D’Evelyn.
“Part of the investigation revealed that on March 30, 2018, Hoffman entered the Beaver Creek gas mart and presented a $100 to pay for gas. While using the gas pumps, the clerk looked over the bill and determined it was likely a counterfeit and shut the pump off. By then, Hoffman put $35 worth of gas in his car. As Hoffman reentered the mart to find out why the pumped stopped, he saw clerks looking over the $100 he intended to use for payment. Hoffman then turned around and left never paying for any of the gas he had pumped,” D’Evelyn’s news release stated.
The bill was later examined and confirmed counterfeit, said D’Evelyn. The bill was a washed $10 that was reprinted into a $100 counterfeit. Detectives are also investigating additional counterfeit incidents in which Hoffman is a suspect.
Since Brummett’s arrest, D’Evelyn said Hoffman had been trying to move items from the Kadamoto Drive home to storage. A search for Hoffman led to a location in Clarkdale where he was arrested Tuesday morning.
Toward the end of April, D’Evelyn explained, a YCSO detective followed up on a prior investigation involving several incidents of counterfeit US Currency being passed at businesses in the Verde Valley. Based on his knowledge of Brummett’s involvement in a 2017 Cornville counterfeit currency case, the detective determined she was likely responsible for multiple reported incidents.
Several businesses, said D’Evelyn, reported the receipt of counterfeit currency only after being notified by bank employees that counterfeit bills had been found in weekly deposits.
After a review of area incidents, Brummett was identified as the primary suspect in the following reports:
August 29, 2017 – Brummett attempts to pass a counterfeit $100 bill at the Family Dollar store in Cornville.
February 6, 2018 – Brummett successfully passes a counterfeit $50 at a business in Cottonwood. YCSO takes this case on behalf of the Cottonwood Police Department to consolidate prosecution.
February 12, 2018 – Brummett successfully passes a counterfeit $50 bill at a thrift store in the Village of Oak Creek. It appeared she has ‘washed’ a $5 bill and then produced a printed $50 counterfeit.
February 18, 2018 – Brummett attempts to pass counterfeit $50 and $100 bills at a Cottonwood garage sale.
March 26, 2018 – Brummett successfully passed a counterfeit $100 bill at a boutique store in Cottonwood. The prior week, she attempted to pass a counterfeit $50 at the same business. YCSO takes this case on behalf of the Cottonwood Police Department to consolidate prosecution.
March 28, 2018 – Brummett successfully passed a counterfeit $100 at a market in Cornville.
April 15, 2018 – Brummett successfully passed a counterfeit $100 at a Sedona area business. YCSO takes this case on behalf of the Sedona Police Department to consolidate prosecution.
April 28, 2018 – Brummett successfully passed a counterfeit $50 at a garage sale in Cornville.
In almost every case, Brummett would suggest to employees that they use their security marking pen to verify the authenticity of the currency. Since these bills had been “washed” and reprinted in higher denominations on authentic US treasury paper, the pen would not detect counterfeiting.
“This is why it is important to check other security features before accepting questionable currency,” D’Evelyn’s news release states. “The goal of Brummett in every instance was to pass the counterfeit currency and receive authentic currency as change.”
The sheriff’s office was able to obtain a search warrant for Brummett’s home in the 2500 block of Kadamoto Drive in Cornville. On May 3, the search warrant was served. Brummett was home alone with her Terrier dog when the detectives arrived. Brummett and her dog had been described by at least one victim when interviewed.
Brummett initially denied remembering anything until a case-by-case review of the evidence by the lead detective caused her to acknowledge participation in the crimes. In some cases, she continued to claim not realizing the bills were counterfeit even after detectives found an active counterfeiting operation in her home.
During the search, detectives seized several inkjet printers and numerous chemicals used to wash US currency. Detectives also found a large of amount of counterfeit bills in $20, $50, and $100 denominations. Some of the bills were in the process of counterfeiting. Detectives also located some the property Brummett bought at a garage sale with counterfeit money. It appeared Brummett used almost every room for some aspect of the counterfeiting operation.
Inside Brummett’s purse, detectives found 4 grams of methamphetamine and associated paraphernalia.
This investigation remains active as to additional victims and suspects.
Information on detecting counterfeit currency is found here: https://www.uscurrency.gov/.
Citizens can contact the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office with information or questions at 928-771-3260 or the YCSO website: www.ycsoaz.gov.
Information provided by Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office.