Man accused of using counterfeit bills in Fort Myers indicted on federal charges

Reporter: Zach Oliveri Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Suspect Erik Baez. Credit: Shared with WINK News.

A man’s unmistakable tattoos led to his arrest.

Suspect Erik Baez was indicted on federal charges after he was accused of using counterfeit money in downtown Fort Myers.

Baez was caught on surveillance hitting multiple businesses in the downtown area and was later found in Wisconsin.

“I’m just glad they got their comeuppance, and they’ve been caught,” said Jane Kroeze, the manager of Franklin Shops.

Investigators say Baez went to six stores and restaurants downtown and used fake $100 bills to make purchases.

Franklin Shops was among businesses that fell victim. Kroeze told us the bill passed the counterfeit bill test, but something was off.

“You really had to look, but it did look a little bit suspicious,” Kroeze said.

Baez used $10 bills that were washed and had a $100 federal reserve note painted on it, including a Benjamin Franklin watermark.

“It was just something I wish we caught right away,” Kroeze said.

Rich Kolko, WINK News Safety & Security Specialist, says the difference maker in this case is all the surveillance video.

“It’s hard to go almost anywhere these days without getting caught on some security cameras somewhere,” Kolko said. “In this case, the person went into different establishments. He had some identifiable tattoos.”

Business owners like Kroeze are glad they don’t have to worry about this guy but know to stay vigilant.

MORE: Secret Service – Know Your Money

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