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Federal authorities have charged 14 people in South Carolina with operating a counterfeiting ring that passed thousands of dollars in fake U.S. currency beginning in fall 2018. 

The conspiracy began on or around Oct. 1 and continued up until Wednesday, according to the indictment. The defendants would manufacture counterfeit $20, $50 and $100 bills at residences in Summerville and elsewhere around the state. 

They took the counterfeit money and used it to make purchases on multiple occasions at businesses around the Charleston area and in Myrtle Beach, Greenville, Atlanta and Raleigh, the document stated. 

While the precise amount of counterfeit money manufactured was not provided, the amount adds up to thousands of dollars, authorities stated.

The indictment filed Wednesday lays out the case against the defendants: Samuel Forte, Keerstin Lax, Stephan Moore, Shelby Brunson, Donna Isaacs, Jeffrey Zensen, Aubrey Schultz, Patricia Seary, Imesha Ragins, Ashley Woods, Lovan Green, Kendall Grant, Sharnseearay Goddard and Neil Hines Jr.  Ages and cities of residence for the defendants were not included in court documents.

The indictment lists one count of conspiracy to commit counterfeiting and 27 counts of counterfeiting.

All 14 defendants face the conspiracy count. Thirteen of the defendants face the 27 counterfeiting counts; one defendant, Grant, was left off.

Most incidents involved the use of one or two counterfeit bills to make purchases; however, Jan. 30 saw three defendants exchange $900 of fake money at a single location — a Fred's Discount store located at 311 E. Main St. in Andrews, according to the indictment. 

Woods knowingly accepted nine fake $100 bills as payment provided by Ragins and Moore, the document stated. 

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Reach Gregory Yee at 843-937-5908. Follow him on Twitter @GregoryYYee.

Gregory Yee covers breaking news and public safety. He's a native Angeleno and previously covered crime and courts for the Press-Telegram in Long Beach, CA. He studied journalism and Spanish literature at the University of California, Irvine.

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