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Greenfield man charged with counterfeiting

GREENFIELD — A local man wound up in jail after allegedly buying fast food with homemade money.

Michael E. Natale, 23, of 5B Standish Court, was arrested on three counts of passing a counterfeit bill, one count of forgery of a bank note, and three counts of larceny under $250.

Police caught up with the suspect after workers at the Mohawk Trail McDonald’s accused him of using a fake $20 bill to pay for food at the drive-through on the morning of Feb. 7.

The drive-through cashier took the bill, and gave Natale change, but then noticed that the bill seemed different from most, according to a police report written by Officer Christopher Rowell.

Her manager agreed, and confronted the customer, who became angry, and gave the manager his driver’s license, according to the report.

The suspect told the manager he’d received the bill from a Western Union money transfer, according to the report.

The manager took down the man’s information, and passed it on to Rowell.

Police were already investigating a similar instance that happened the previous day. That afternoon, a man had used a fake $20 with the same serial number as the bill recovered from McDonald’s.

Sgt. David Rice responded to that call, and wrote in his report that the bill was on a lighter paper stock than real money, and contained none of the security features found in U.S. currency. Employees gave Rice a description of the suspect and car.

Officers found Natale at his home.

Rowell wrote that Natale was cooperative with officers, and “after a few minutes of trying to come up with a viable story,” he confessed to making the counterfeit bills.

He told officers that he had no way of earning money, so he decided to scan and copy a $20 bill, according to the report. Rowell wrote that Natale said he made 12 bills, but only kept four of them. The others, Natale said told police, he burned or flushed, because they were not of passable quality.

Natale also admitted to using another fake $20 bill at the McDonald’s on Federal Street the previous morning, according to Rowell’s report.

The restaurant told Rowell that day’s cash had already been deposited. The fake $20 bill was found by People’s United Bank and given to police, according to the report.

Natale was arraigned on Feb. 7, and pleaded innocent. He was held, and will again appear in front of the court March 5.

David Rainville can be reached at:
or 413-772-0261, ext. 279

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