A Baton Rouge man was convicted by a federal jury Tuesday on charges that he possessed nearly $9,000 in counterfeit currency.
Paul Edward Carney kept most of that cash at his house in the 1600 block of Olive Street, Secret Service Special Agent R. Eric Bragg told U.S. District Judge Brian A. Jackson in an affidavit.
But bogus $100 bills bearing the same serial numbers as some in Carney’s possession already had been passed at least 13 times in the Baton Rouge and Covington areas, Bragg said.
And $20 bills with serial numbers identical to some uncut sheets of cash at Carney’s home had been passed at least 11 times in south Louisiana and as far north as Rochester, Minn., the agent reported.
Carney has prior convictions for drug possession, DWI, theft, issuing worthless checks and forgery, Assistant U.S. Attorney Helina S. Dayries noted in a pre-trial filing.
Defense attorney Joseph K. Scott III attempted to keep all evidence of the counterfeit stash at Carney’s house out of trial testimony.
Scott argued that Baton Rouge police Officers Nicholas Collins and Jordan Lear had no probable cause to stop Carney’s van for an altered temporary license on Jan. 31, when a passenger in that vehicle was discovered with counterfeit cash.
Bragg, the Secret Service agent, said in his affidavit that Carney admitted after his arrest he manufactured the counterfeit cash.
Bragg also quoted Carney as saying “the counterfeit currency was to be used in the purchase of illicit narcotics and ‘given as change’ for activities related to prostitution.”
Dayries, the prosecutor, noted that police Sgt. John Barker testified the search of Carney’s house did not begin until after he granted his permission.
And, Dayries said, the same police officers discovered counterfeit cash at Carney’s home more than a month before his Jan. 31 arrest.
“At that time, BRPD officers did not arrest the defendant (Carney) because he agreed to cooperate with the officers regarding drug-trafficking activity in Baton Rouge,” Dayries said.
That cooperation never materialized, Dayries added.
Jackson ruled there was probable cause for the traffic stop and search of Carney’s house.
The judge also ruled that Carney’s confession was admissible.
He ordered Carney taken into custody immediately after his conviction.