A Santa Barbara woman is in jail accused of possessing counterfeit checks after police detectives and the U.S. Secret Service set up surveillance in following up on a tip of fraudulent money orders being shipped from Nigeria.
The Santa Barbara Police Department received a call from the Secret Service on Dec. 6 reporting that U.S. Customs and Border Protection had intercepted two packages being shipped to Santa Barbara from Nigeria containing 258 counterfeit money orders, according to police Sgt. Lorenzo Duarte. One package made it through that had been addressed to a local mailbox store.
Duarte said the packages were intended for Passion Moore, who the U.S. Secret Service confirmed was a customer of the store. The Secret Service seized the money orders and turned them over to the Santa Barbara Police Department.
On Dec. 12, according to Duarte, Secret Service agents and Santa Barbara police detectives set up surveillance at the mailbox store and observed Moore arrive at the store and pick up a package. She was followed as she drove to various locations within the city before stopping in the 300 block of North Nopal Street, Duarte said.
He said detectives contacted Moore and recovered from her vehicle a backpack with several hundred counterfeit money orders with “Citibank” printed on them and each with a value of $1,800.35, totaling $437,485.00.
Duarte said the investigation prevented a possible total loss of $700,000.
Moore, 47, was arrested and booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail on charges of possessing counterfeit checks. Bail was set at $500,000.