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Three arrested on counterfeit currency charges

Left to right: Marcus Watkins, Jim Bembridge and Jessica Baker (Onslow County Sheriff's Office photos)

Three people have been arrested on counterfeit money charges.

Marcus Shane Watkins, Jim Doye Bembridge and Jessica Nichole Baker were each arrested and are facing the following charges:

-- Three counts of felony forgery of instrument

-- Three counts of felony possess counterfeit instrument

-- Three counts of felony utter forged instruments

-- Three counts of felony obtaining property by false pretense

-- Three counts of felony conspiracy.

Below is a press release on the arrests and the actions that led to the arrests.

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On January 18, 2018, Onslow County Sheriff’s Office uniformed patrol responded to Waffle House on Richlands Hwy. for a report that they had received a counterfeit $50 bill.

Video footage of the incident led to a female suspect who was seen leaving in a white conversion van being driven by an unknown male. Later the same night, the vehicle was located by patrol deputies and a traffic stop was conducted. The driver of the vehicle was identified as Jim Doye Bembridge and the female, Jessica Nichole Baker was identified as the person with the counterfeit money. Marcus Shane Watkins was also found in the vehicle with Bembridge and Baker.

A search of the vehicle led to evidence of several other businesses having received fake $50 bills. All three suspects were arrested and charged with:

(3) Counts Felony Forgery of Instrument

(3) Counts Felony Possess Counterfeit Instrument

(3) Counts Felony Utter Forged Instrument

(3) Counts Felony Obtaining Property by False Pretense

(3) Counts Felony Conspiracy

Bond for Watkins, age 29 of Canterbury Road, Nashville, N.C. was set at $175,000 secured

Bembridge, age 34 of Wallace Family Road, Kinston, N.C. had his bond set at $87,500 secured

Baker, age 21 of Wallace Family Road, Kinston, N.C. bond was set at $72,000 secured.

An investigation by the Detective Division has led to a search warrant being served in Lenoir County and as the investigation continues more charges are expected.

Sheriff Miller asks local businesses to be vigilant when receiving cash in larger denominations like $50 or $100 bills and report any suspected counterfeit currency to law enforcement. In this case $50 bills were counterfeited. When you receive a $50 bill you should make sure to check each bill for the security features to include: the color shifting ink of the numeral “50” in the right corner that shifts from copper to green; the portrait watermark which is a faint image of President Grant; the embedded security thread that runs vertically through the note and will include the text “USA 50” printed in the thread; the raised printing that can be felt by moving your finger across the note and; the micro printing that notes the value of the bill, “FIFTY” and the letters “USA”. Counterfeit protection pens don’t always work with some of the new methods of counterfeiting but are still good with detecting some counterfeit notes.

Anyone with information about this incident may contact Onslow County Sheriff’s Office at 910-455-3113, Detective Lincoln at Jonathon_lincoln@onslowcountync.gov, or Crime Stoppers at

910-938-3273. Please refer to case 2018-000957 when calling.

Crime Stoppers offers cash reward of up to $2,500 for information that is deemed of value or assistance to law enforcement. Information can also be anonymously texted via Text-A-Tip by typing TIP4CSJAX and your message to 274637 (CRIMES). Callers to Crime Stoppers may remain anonymous and never have to reveal their identity.

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