Counterfeit money operation discovered in Cornville home

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Authorities in Yavapai County have made an arrest in a counterfeit money operation. (Source: Yavapai County Sheriff Dept.) Authorities in Yavapai County have made an arrest in a counterfeit money operation. (Source: Yavapai County Sheriff Dept.)
38-year-old Cornville resident, Stara Brummett. (Source: Yavapai County Sheriff Dept.) 38-year-old Cornville resident, Stara Brummett. (Source: Yavapai County Sheriff Dept.)
Chemicals used for washing currency in paper bills. (Source: Yavapai County Sheriff Dept.) Chemicals used for washing currency in paper bills. (Source: Yavapai County Sheriff Dept.)
A large amount of counterfeit bills were found. (Source: Yavapai County Sheriff Dept.) A large amount of counterfeit bills were found. (Source: Yavapai County Sheriff Dept.)
Several printers were also found in the home. (Source: Yavapai County Sheriff Dept.) Several printers were also found in the home. (Source: Yavapai County Sheriff Dept.)
CORNVILLE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

After an investigation into several incidents where counterfeit U.S. currency was passed off in businesses and garage sales in the Verde Valley over the past year, authorities in Yavapai County have made an arrest after locating a counterfeit bill operation in a residence.

Yavapai County Sheriff Dept. spokesman Dwight D'Evelyn said investigators looking into cases where counterfeit bills were handed out found similar instances dating back to August 2017.

[RELATED: Yavapai officials need help identifying counterfeit suspects in Mayer]

D'Evelyn said their investigation led them to the Cornville home of 38-year-old Stara Brummett in the 2500 block of Kadamoto Drive. 

Last Thursday, May 3, Brummett was home alone with her Terrier dog when the detectives arrived. Brummett and her dog had been described by at least one of her victims, said D'evelyn.

When asked about the counterfeit bills, Brummett initially denied remembering anything, until a case by case review of the evidence by the lead detective jarred her memory. D'Evelyn said she continued to claim not realizing the bills were counterfeit even after detectives found an active counterfeiting operation in her home.

During the search, detectives seized several inkjet printers and numerous chemicals used to wash the ink from paper currency. They also found counterfeit bills in $20, $50, and $100 denominations. Some of the bills were in the process of counterfeiting, said D'Evelyn.

D'Evelyn said Brummett was identified as the primary suspect in the following incidents which led investigators to her.

  • August 29, 2017 – Brummett attempts to pass a counterfeit $100 bill at the Family Dollar store in Cornville. 
  • February 6, 2018 – Brummett successfully passes a counterfeit $50 at a business in Cottonwood. YCSO takes this case on behalf of the Cottonwood Police Department to consolidate prosecution.
  • February 12, 2018 – Brummett successfully passes a counterfeit $50 bill at a thrift store in the Village of Oak Creek. It appeared she has ‘washed’ a $5 bill and then produced a printed $50 counterfeit.
  • February 18, 2018 – Brummett attempts to pass counterfeit $50 and $100 bills at a Cottonwood garage sale.
  • March 26, 2018 – Brummett successfully passed a counterfeit $100 bill at a boutique store in Cottonwood. The prior week, she attempted to pass a counterfeit $50 at the same business. YCSO takes this case on behalf of the Cottonwood Police Department to consolidate prosecution.
  • March 28, 2018 – Brummett successfully passed a counterfeit $100 at a market in Cornville.
  • April 15, 2018 – Brummett successfully passed a counterfeit $100 at a Sedona area business. YCSO takes this case on behalf of the Sedona Police Department to consolidate prosecution.
  • April 28, 2018 – Brummett successfully passed a counterfeit $50 at a garage sale in Cornville.

D'Evelyn said in almost every case, Brummett would suggest to employees that they use their security marking pen to verify the authenticity of the bill she was passing off as real. Since these bills had been ‘washed’ and reprinted in higher denominations on authentic U.S. treasury paper, the pen would not detect counterfeiting. D'Evelyn says this is why it is important to check other security features before accepting questionable currency.

Deputies also found found 4 grams of methamphetamine and associated paraphernalia in Brummett's purse, said D'Evelyn.

D'Evelyn said Brummett was booked at the detention center in Camp Verde on numerous charges including possess forgery equipment, falsely make written instrument, fraudulent schemes, theft, offer forged instrument, and possession of dangerous drugs. She remains in-custody on a $25,000 bond.

Investigators are still looking into possible additional victims and suspects.

[RELATED: Mesa police warn about counterfeit money]

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