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More fake bills found in Fargo; second arrest made

It's unclear if three cases of fake U.S. currency reported to Fargo police this weekend are connected to other counterfeit currency recently found in the metro area.

But it would be counterintuitive to think they are unrelated to a recent West Fargo arrest linked to fake bills, said Detective Greg Warren of the West Fargo Police Department.

Considering that it's rare for multiple counterfeiting operations to be running in the Fargo-Moorhead area at once, "one would lean toward" thinking there's a connection, Warren said.

Warren said he has not spoken about the new cases with Fargo police or the U.S. Secret Service, which is investigating the counterfeiting cases. A phone message left at the Secret Service branch in Fargo wasn't returned Monday.

On Saturday, Dennis Michael Lilley, 32, Dilworth, was arrested at the Empire bar, 424 Broadway. Lilley allegedly tried to use a fake $50 bill at the bar and was arrested on suspicion of forgery, said Fargo Police Sgt. Mark Lykken.

Police also received a call on Sunday about a bogus $50 bill being found in the safe at M&H in Fargo, 1602 Main Ave., and on Saturday about a fake $50 bill being used on Saturday at Busy Bubbles, 2102 12th St. N.

Lykken said reports of fake $100 and $50 bills have also been received from the Howard Johnson and the adjacent Sidestreet Grill & Pub in downtown Fargo.

Brittany Belgrade, 24, of St. John, N.D., was arrested Wednesday in West Fargo on suspicion of possessing counterfeit bills. Police say they found fake $10 bills and $20 bills on Belgrade during a traffic stop.

Counterfeit bills typically aren't identified until they end up at a bank, Warren said. But the bogus bills West Fargo police found were made from paper that was clearly not the blend used for genuine currency.