By Associated Press - Tuesday, February 18, 2020

GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) - A Wyoming jail unwittingly helped an inmate earn a profit from counterfeit money when it returned unused funds from a commissary account where he’s accused of depositing fake bills, authorities said.

The Campbell County Sheriff’s Office returned $261.69 to Edwardo Vlahos when he was released in October, The Gillette News Record reported Monday.

The 43-year-old was arrested earlier that month on suspicion of felony shoplifting. As part of the booking process, Vlahos turned over money in his possession to be used to buy food and other items in jail.

The funds added to the commissary account included $120 in counterfeit bills, according to a probable cause affidavit filed in the case.

The funds were returned on a debit card when Vlahos was released on a $1,500 cash or surety bond, officials said.

The sheriff’s office determined money submitted for the commissary counting machine would not accept a $20 bill and two $50 bills Vlahos turned over when he was arrested.

The discovery led to an additional forgery charge in a September case accusing Vlahos of passing counterfeit bills at a restaurant where he worked as a dishwasher. He denied knowing that the bills were counterfeit.

Vlahos also was accused of shoplifting from Walmart in October. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

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