The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

March 14, 2014

Attorney: Give accused student a break

By Joe Pinchot
Herald Staff Writer

GREENVILLE — The attorney for a Greenville High School student accused of counterfeiting money has asked prosecutors to consider a diversionary program for his client.

The initial response was not receptive.

Nicholas E. Davis, 18, of 66 Sherrard Ave., Hempfield Township, has been charged by Hermitage, Hempfield Township and Pymatuning Township police with making or disseminating counterfeit money.

He faced his first preliminary hearing Thursday, stipulating in the Hermitage case that prosecutors could show a crime occurred and he might have been involved.

Senior Judge William L. Fagley, Farrell, held for court charges of forgery, theft, corruption of a minor and conspiracy to commit theft and forgery.

Davis was released after posting bond.

Assistant Mercer County Public Defender Charles F. Gilchrest asked prosecutors if Davis could be considered for Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition, a probation-like program in which Davis would not have to enter a plea and, if he completes the program, the charges would be dismissed and expunged.

Gilchrest pointed out that Davis only turned 18 in November, gets good grades in school and aspires to join the Coast Guard.

Assistant District Attorney Cynthia A. Gilkey said the charges are too serious for ARD as a matter of office policy. Any deviation from the policy would have to be approved by District Attorney Robert G. Kochems, she said.

Hermitage police objected to ARD because of the severity of the charges and Davis involving a juvenile.

Last month, police from the Shenango Valley and Greenville areas took reports of counterfeit bills being passed and used security video images to identify Davis and at least two others, including a 17-year-old boy, police said.

Police obtained a search warrant for Davis’ home and executed it Feb. 28.

Davis lives in a detached garage on the property, police said. Inside was found sheets of fake $100 and $20 bills, the serial numbers of which matched bills passed in Hermitage, Hempfield, Pymatuning and Greenville, police said.

Investigators also found receipts from purchases made with funny money, cleaners, computer equipment and other paraphernalia used in the counterfeit bill manufacturing process, police said.

Davis took legitimate $5 bills and used cleaners to wash off the ink, police said. The process leaves intact the security marks imbedded in the bills, police said. He then printed larger denominations onto the paper, police said.

Such bills often stand up to the marker test used at many stores; however, Davis did not print all the bills to the correct dimensions, and the washed edges of the bill were whiter than one sees on legitimate currency, police said.

Davis admitted washing bills to make new, higher denominations, police said.

He was charged by Hermitage police with passing funny money Feb. 26 at five businesses, and Pymatuning police with using a $100 bill to buy a $10 gift card Feb. 27 at Sheetz, 270 Edgewood Drive.

Hempfield police have charged him only in connection to items found during the search.

Hermitage police filed a petition against the 17-year-old boy last week, Chief Brian Blair said.