24-year-old Derek Mendoza of Presque Isle pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. District Court to one count of passing counterfeit currency and one count of attempting to pass counterfeit currency, said United States Attorney Halsey B. Frank.

According to court records, in December 2018, an individual from Presque Isle listed a futon for sale on Facebook Messenger. The seller was contacted by the Mendoza’s girlfriend and agreed to sell the futon for $75. On December 4, 2018, Mendoza and his girlfriend arrived at the seller’s residence, purchased the futon with a $100 bill, loaded the futon into a car, and drove away. The seller noticed that the $100 appeared to be irregular and later confirmed with law enforcement that it was counterfeit.

On December 10, 2018, Mendoza was shopping for merchandise at the Cigaret Shopper in Presque Isle. He subsequently attempted to pay for the merchandise with four $50 bills. The cashier checked the bills with a marker and determined them to be counterfeit. The cashier gave the bills back to Mendoza and advised him that the store would not accept them. He then walked out of the store with the four bills. The entire transaction was captured on store video.

Mendoza faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count. He will be sentenced after the completion of a presentence investigation report by the U.S. Probation Office.

The case was investigated by the Presque Isle Police Department and the United States Secret Service.

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