Man who made and spent fake $50 notes nabbed by an off-duty cop

With a range of different printers, stacks of paper, a roll of clear film, glue and bottles of dye, Nicholas Parker spent time perfecting his fake $50 notes.

And for more than five weeks, he got away with spending them all around the Bay of Plenty and Waikato.

He’d go into different shops, buy something small with the goal of getting legitimate cash in change.

He’d screw up his fake note to try to hide the fact they were counterfeit and would engage in a conversation with the person behind the counter to distract them.

He said he did it because he had no money.

Details of Parker’s master plan can now be revealed after the 39-year-old aluminium joiner pleaded guilty to a range of charges when he appeared in the Rotorua District Court this week.

Among more than 20 charges that he admitted were making fake $50 notes, possessing equipment and materials used to make the fake notes, possessing the fake money and using the fake money.

A police summary of facts has been released to the Rotorua Daily Post which said Parker created an unknown number of forged $50 notes.

“[Parker] has spent a considerable amount of time perfecting the forged $50 notes, as a result the notes closely resemble genuine $50 notes,” the summary said.

“The only obvious discrepancies between the forged notes produced by [Parker] and genuine notes, were the type of paper used and the absence of the watermark in the clear windows.”

The summary of facts said Parker told police he started making fake $50 notes because he didn’t have any money and needed to get accommodation and buy food and clothes.

Officer in charge of the case, Detective Sergeant Leonie Smith of the Rotorua CIB, told the Rotorua Daily Post after Parker’s court appearance on Thursday that Parker was nabbed after an off-duty police officer spotted him at Bayfair shopping mall at Mount Maunganui on April 9.

It came to the officer’s attention because he was mingling with a man he was aware had previously been linked with presenting a counterfeit $50 note.

Smith said the off-duty officer showed good instincts to take a photograph of Parker and the associate and circulated it with police.

The police summary of facts said Parker went into Pricewise at Bayfair on the same day and bought toothpaste, deodorant and a sewing kit.

He paid for the items with a fake $50 note and got $37 in change.

The summary said staff went to the bank immediately after to change the bank note and realised it was fake.

A short while later, a staff member recognised Parker still in the mall and confronted him about the fake note – resulting in the goods being returned and Parker returning the $37.

Smith told the Rotorua Daily Post as a result of Parker’s actions on that day and the off-duty officer’s actions, a search warrant was done of Parker’s Basley Rd home on April 12.

Inside, police found printers, failed forged bank notes and ink cartridges for printers.

However, Smith said Parker wasn’t at the home and he was instead found at a Sterling Pl house in Tokoroa on April 28.

The police summary of facts said a printer, practice and failed forged bank notes, stacks of paper, a roll of clear film, glue and bottles of dye were found at the Tokoroa house.

Smith told the Rotorua Daily Post police viewed security footage in shops where Parker had presented fakes notes.

She said the notes appeared crunched up to avoid detection and on each occasion, he would talk to the person behind the counter to try to distract them while they put the fake note in the till.

Smith said that although on the face of it they appeared a good likeness, on closer inspection it was obvious they were fake. She said they were printed on standard A4 paper which can rip and the clear plastic part that had been glued wasn’t sophisticated.

“It didn’t take shops long to realise they were fake but it was just a matter of finding him.”

She said it was the first time in several years someone had tried to make counterfeit notes in this area that she was aware of.

Pricewise manager Darcy Hemara told the Rotorua Daily Post she was pleased to hear the man who had been making the fake notes had been found and she was proud of her staff for playing a small part in helping to catch him.

She said just after Parker handed her colleague the fake note, they needed more change in the tills so she took cash to a bank in the mall to get change. She said the machine “spat” the fake note back out and ripped it.

“I knew straight away it was fake and when I held it I noticed it didn’t feel like an actual note.”

Judge Simon Menzies remanded Parker in custody to reappear for sentencing on August 5. The maximum penalty for the offences he faces is 10 years’ imprisonment.

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