Marine Investigated for Counterfeiting
Stars and Stripes | David Allen | February 22, 2008

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa - An unnamed Marine on Okinawa is the target of an investigation into a counterfeiting scheme, Okinawa police say.

According to police, the Marine, believed to be in his early 20s, passed dozens of bogus $20 bills at off-base stores in the central Okinawa city of Uruma, which hosts several Marine bases.

However, Marine officials deny Japanese press reports that the man is being held by military police.

"There have been no arrests made in conjunction with the alleged counterfeiting incident," Marine officials wrote last week in an e-mail response to Stars and Stripes.

"The investigation is ongoing, and the Marine Corps and Naval Criminal Investigative Service are fully cooperating with the Okinawa Prefectural Police in the investigation. As a matter of policy, we will not release information concerning ongoing investigations."

Okinawa police would not comment Friday on how or where they are questioning the suspect.

The Marine allegedly used his personal computer to make copies of $20 bills which he used to pay for taxi rides and goods purchased at off-base businesses, an Okinawa police spokesman said.

The bills, which first surfaced in September, were crudely made photocopies on cheap paper, the spokesman said.

More than 30 fake $20 bills were passed, police said. Most of them were accepted by taxi drivers taking them as fares for passengers in Okinawa City, Chatan and Uruma City. Many of the fares were to U.S. military bases.

Stars and Stripes reporter Chiyomi Sumida contributed to this report.