Mesa man accused of printing funny money denies counterfeitingPosted: Updated:
A Mesa man who was already on probation for theft is facing new charges for allegedly printing his own money.
Police arrested Michael Provencher, 53, last Tuesday after his roommate told investigators Provencher was using real money and pre-made templates to make counterfeit cash.
According to the roommate, Provencher used chemicals to “wash” the real money, erasing the ink. The roommate explained that after washing the real bills, he used templates to print them with larger denominations. He said Provencher kept his templates in a dresser drawer.
The roommate said Provencher spent the fake money at local stores and got real money as change.
The manager of the apartment complex where Provencher lived said she knew Provencher was making counterfeit money and other residents had complained about the smell of the chemicals he used. She also told police that Provencher had been evicted, but was still staying there.
When police searched the apartment, they found everything exactly as the roommate had described – “counterfeit bills in plain sight inside of the bedroom in an open dresser drawer ….”
“The defendants [sic] resume with his name and information surrounded the counterfeit bills, and the defendants [sic] eviction paperwork was on the ground,” according to court documents.
When police arrested Provencher for violating his probation, he told officers he knew about the funny money but claimed that somebody gave it to him.
The arresting officer said Provencher’s described that assertion as “not credible.”
“I wasn’t printing money,” Provencher said in a jailhouse interview Tuesday. “I had some counterfeit money in my wallet that I had got from a guy that I had fixed his bike.”
Provencher said he did not spend any of that funny money and never saw the man whose bike he fixed again. He also said he did not realize the money was fake when he put it in his wallet.
“I mean it looked pretty good to me,” he explained. “When I put it in my wallet, I never spent any of it. That’s the God’s honest truth. … I was shocked that it was counterfeit.”
He staunchly denied the counterfeiting scheme of which he his accused.
“I never made a counterfeit bill in my life,” he said. “I don’t have no printing press and I wasn’t making any counterfeit bills. … I shouldn’t even be here.”
While Provencher did not outright accuse his roommate of being the counterfeiter, he said the man, whom he identified only as Kenny, had broken into his locked bedroom and used his printer.
“I don’t know what he was doing, sir, to tell you the truth, and I never really stopped to ask him,” he explained to our photographer.
“I tell you I’m not a counterfeiter.”
A judge set bond for Provencher at $2,000. He is due back in court for a preliminary hearing on Friday.
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