The Case of Counterfeit Fifties

Castleton State College may have a counterfeiter among us. A Sodexo employee deposited Oct. 2 earnings into Citizens Bank and as the money was counted, the teller at the bank discovered two counterfeit $50 bills used at Fireside Cafe’.

Dean of Administration Scott Dikeman says it’s the first situation of its kind at Castleton that he’s been aware of.

Buyers are now notified by signs in Fireside Cafe and the Coffee Cottage that $50 and $100 bills cannot be used to purchase items, a direct result of the infraction, Dikeman added.

Despite the conspicuous nature of the case, Dikeman hopes that it was just an honest mistake.

“Maybe someone had this passed to them and was unaware of it. I guess if you’re gonna try and look at the glass half full then maybe it was an innocent mistake that this person wasn’t aware that they were passing it.”

Whatever the reason, video surveillance in an around the Campus Center will not be installed because it would be too expensive. Dikeman said Sodexo employees will simply have to be more diligent.

Lauren DiGeronimo, vice president senior media relations manager of RBS Citizens Financial Group could not talk about the case, but did detail the bank’s protocol when fake bills are found.

“Branches are required by law to confiscate all suspected counterfeit notes presented by customers. The suspected counterfeit note then must be reported to the United States Secret Service,” she wrote in an e-mail.

The Burlington, Vt. Secret Service branch was contacted and an official there said The Spartan would get a call back, which hadn’t happened by press time.

Sodexo cashier Megan Harris, who took the fake bills, was surprised to learn they weren’t real.

“I see probably over 600 people in a night working down in Fireside,” Harris said. “I feel more bad that I didn’t catch it,” Harris continued. “I’m not being held responsible in any way. I haven’t been asked to repay the money because it was on my watch. I haven’t been made to feel guilty by anybody because it happened and because it made it through so many people, but I definitely have a little bit of guilt.”

Sodexo General Manager Jeff Kurto said neither ink pens nor watermark identifiers were available for cashiers, but were acquired “about five minutes after” they had found out about the counterfeits.

“We see the student body as very trustworthy and something like this wasn’t in our foresight, but now we’ve instituted some policies to check for counterfeits with every $20, $50, $10,” Kurto said.

Castleton Police Chief Bruce Sherwin was unable to be reached for comment.


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